October 15, 2013
Vanderslice was recruited by Dr. Ben Johnson, a Tulsa dentist, to help build the business that would later be known as Dentsply Tulsa Dental Specialties. Along with Mark Oliver, the three turned an idea into a profitable company – earning $25 million a year in sales – that would be purchased by Dentsply International after only seven years.
Despite the purchase, Vanderslice stayed on as the general manager of Dentsply Tulsa and retired as general manager and vice president in 2005. He then stayed on for three more years as a semiretired executive.
“[Russell] certainly is the one who established the culture of TDS,” said company spokeswoman Jeannie Bracken. “He was a fun boss who developed a warm, family atmosphere that we tried to continue.”
Despite his obvious business savvy, Vanderslice wasn’t all work, no play. His son remembers his leisurely side fondly. “Dad was a lake bum at heart,” he said. “He really enjoyed Grand Lake,” he told the Tulsa World.
Vanderslice is survived by his wife of 43 years, Donna Vanderslice, his two sons, Ron and Kirk Vanderslice, and his two grandchildren.