Marie Van Slate was a bubbly, caring waitress who would tease customers about eating greasy french fries.
“If you want to use the term ‘model employee,’ that was Marie,” said Gerry Stotler, Ridpath Hotel sales director. “I can guarantee that she was employee of the month once or twice.”
Van Slate, 49, of Coeur d’Alene, was shot in the back Tuesday by an elderly regular of the Ridpath’s Silver Grill. She died 35 minutes later, police said.
Restaurant manager Ronald MacDonald, 58, of Spokane, took a bullet in his upper right arm. He was reported in stable condition late Tuesday at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
The gunman killed himself after shooting the restaurant workers.
The Ridpath staff is planning a memorial service at the hotel for Van Slate, who had been a Silver Grill waitress for nearly six years.
Stotler said she’d often give him tips on healthful menu items he should choose. “If I got french fries, she’d tease me about it,” he said.
MacDonald declined to be interviewed Tuesday in his hospital room, where he was recuperating.
Friends described the bachelor as outgoing and likable - the perfect personality for his job.
Rick Bonner, general manager at the Chapter Eleven restaurant just north of downtown, said MacDonald had worked with him until about two years ago and was a friend.
“You can’t go anywhere with him without him seeing someone he knows,” said Bonner. “Usually when he calls me, it’s to tell me a joke.”
“He’s always trying to do things for people,” said Betty Gaw, a longtime friend and neighbor.
MacDonald lives in an apartment complex overlooking the Spokane River.
Marty Heimbigner, owner of the Ridpath Barber Shop, said Van Slate was a pleasant waitress who commuted to work from Coeur d’Alene.
“Quite often, I’d have a little breakfast and she’d give me a couple of dollars to feed the meter until 1:30,” he said.
Divorced, Van Slate shared her home with three adult daughters, according to friends.
She worked at The Coeur d’Alene Resort from 1987 to 1990, washing and caring for clothes in the uniforms department.
Neighbors say Van Slate had lived in Kootenai County at least a decade, moving to a quiet north Coeur d’Alene subdivision last year. They knew little about her except that she was very active.
“She used to work in her yard and around the house,” said neighbor Paul Victorino, who built a deck for her last summer.
Victorino said she adored her children and appeared to be juggling home and work successfully.
“She had her ducks in a row. She was doing well for herself,” he said. “Until that jerk came along.” , DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: SHOOTING VICTIMS Killed: Marie Van Slate, 49, of Coeur d’Alene, a waitress at the Ridpath’s Silver Grill. Injured: Restaurant manager Ronald MacDonald, 58, of Spokane, in stable condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center.