HAROLD F. SKINNER
Under the loving care of his family Harold F. Skinner, 82, of Cedar Springs, formerly of Alpena, passed away Sunday evening, Nov. 24, 2019. A wise, loving, talented, hilarious, faith-filled man – he lived his life grounded in Jesus. Quietly, humbly, profoundly …. he impacted the lives of those who knew him.
The son of Harold Fyle and Bertha Eliza (Freeman) Skinner, he was born on Dec. 10. 1936 in Onaway, Michigan, just a few miles from the Millersburg family farm. He worked alongside his father and uncle until the age of 18, moved to Saginaw where he worked for a dairy company, then chose employment with General Telephone and Electric (known today as Verizon). He started as a lineman — finishing his career part of the PBX (Private Business Exchange) team, retiring after 35 years of service.
Harold was a proud veteran. He served in the United States Army of Occupation in Berlin, Germany where he witnessed placement of the hand drawn line which marked the location of the soon to be built – and later torn down – Berlin Wall.
For 15 years he passionately served as Scoutmaster of Alpena Troop 78 overseeing a variety of high adventure trips that included The Boundary Waters of Minnesota, Isle Royal in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, mountain climbing in Philmont, New Mexico, and hiking Lake Superior’s North Country Trail. From the National Boy Scouts Harold received the highest award a local council can bestow on a volunteer, The Silver Beaver, given to recognize outstanding service to Scout youth.
Harold was a Master Craftsman whose projects included his own homes, wooden toys, spindle cradles, household furniture, even a wood strip canoe (just to see if he could do it). He was always attentive to wood grains and known for running his hand over an item to assess its smoothness and quality.
Harold was a man of faith. Unwavering, disciplined, thankful. Favorite phrases were, “Thank you, Father” and “Praise you, Jesus.” He gladly served his church family finding his niche in organizing opportunities for men’s fellowship, overseeing the care of church structures and grounds. He cared for people in practical ways: visitation, building, sharing a laugh, studying the Bible, worship.
Harold was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Mari Jane (Gard) Skinner on April 10, 1982; two sisters, Carol Balliet and Patricia Dehring.
Surviving are his wife of 35 years Cynthia (Piper) Skinner, of Cedar Springs; his children, Kimberlie (Tim) Burrows, of Cedar Springs, Kristopher (Joni) Skinner, of Grand Rapids; his grandchildren, Connor Burrows (fiancee, Glenda Alvarado), Caden Burrows, Ethan Skinner, and Elizabeth Skinner; a brother, Gary (Marion) Skinner, of Fort Wayne, Indiana; three brothers-in-law, Paul Balliet, Jeff Piper, and Robert Dehring; his beloved cousin, Jacquie Eppich, and wonderful nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 14 at The Springs Church, 135 N. Grant Street N.E., Cedar Springs. At noon a celebration of life service complete with Military honors will take place. A luncheon will immediately follow.
Memorial donations may be made to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA -322 Eighth Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, New York 10001) where 100% of donations designated for research will go toward finding a treatment and a cure. Or … Alpena Boy Scout Troop 78 (c/o 312 Princeton Ave., Alpena, Michigan 49707).