Fred Albert Skellie, Junior

Dear family and friends,

Our beloved Dad, Fred Skellie, passed away this evening at home with Mom in their assisted living apartment. He was 92. Yesterday he had fallen and broken his hip. Mom said,

“he passed away peacefully—just like he did everything else in his life.”

Dad’s (Fred Skellie) memorial service will be:

Saturday, March 23 at 1 pm

Druid Hills United Methodist Church

1200 Ponce de Leon Avenue,
NE Atlanta, GA 30306
http://www.druidhillsumc.org/Contact.html

Mom, Lucille, would love to hear from you either by phone (404.377.0443) or card.

Her address:

Medlock Gardens
460 Medlock Road, Apt 36
Decatur, GA 30030

Please pass this sad news on to your family and friends.

Thank you for your love and prayers at this time.

We love you all,

Nancy & Gary
Bert & Karen
Don & Elizabeth
Lucille

One Reply to “Fred Albert Skellie, Junior”

  1. Personal stories shared at Fred A. Skellie Jr.’s Memorial Service

    REV. DAVE ALLEN GRADY:

    As we gather today, the liturgy reminds us of our purpose today: to give thanks to God and to remember such a wonderful person. Such a graceful life.

    I want you to think of the next few minutes of sharing memories and offering witness as a verbal collage, much like a wall with a lifetime of photos. And not just any walls, but the walls of that place especially made for Fred. That dwelling place Jesus spoke uniquely made for Fred. And as we begin naming and remembering to one another, and to God, all the different ways Fred’s life blessed and shaped our lives, we articulate our trust in Jesus’ words that just as Fred has a place designed uniquely for him, not only is Fred remembered but so are we.

    And so to begin with two frames: first, while I became Fred’s pastor long after the days of his active ministry at Druid Hills had passed, his legacy lives on to this day. Rarely more than two months have passed between utterances of some way Fred influenced the various administrative processes of this congregation, either in his roles he served on trustees or finance team. Indeed, I had Betty recently share with me how Fred trained her to account for the money collected by Sunday School. In no small way, this is a legacy. Others participate in a life of faith, have had their faith enhanced through this church because of the decisions and influence in which Fred had a part. How wonderful a gift, a life. And a second frame.. just because his days of active ministry in this church have been complete for a time, that did not mean his ministry in the name of Jesus and because of his faith were done.

    I remember the first time I visited Fred and Lucille. I was sitting there trying to get to know this delightful family, to hear their story. But in addition to me getting to know them, Fred wanted to know about me. He wanted to know about my wife, my daughter. And that struck me. Even though his dementia was advanced at this stage (and he did ask me about my family several time) I felt his desire to know was sincere. He was practicing the same hospitality to me that he had practiced with my predecessors for years. That’s simply who Fred Skellie was. That’s who Fred Skellie is. For that, I am grateful. In a selfish sense, I cannot help but feel some remorse that I did not get to know him earlier in both our lives. But I am thankful of the way he blessed others. And so now, I’ll turn, first to a few named people, but then others will have the opportunity to share brief memories, each hanging a different frame, each remembering, each thanking God for this life….

    BERT SKELLIE, SON:

    Dad fit what I learned that Quakers say, “Let your lives speak.” Dad taught me how to live.

    DON SKELLIE, SON:

    Faithful; Honest; Good; Strong; Loving; Generous; Steady; Respectful; Gentle; Funny; Determined; Caring; Focused; Helpful. These are words that describe Dad. He had a positive influence on many people throughout his life. He never talked about the whos or whys.

    A number of years ago Uncle Richard told me that he and William used to call Fred “the preacher”. My initial thought was “well that was mean” (Don turned around to the two real pastors and said “sorry!”) but then I thought, “well, actually I can see that”. He had a strong faith and a sense of purpose very early in his life. Richard did say they were just teasing and that Dad was just such a good person (and I think a good influence on younger brothers).

    There was a man that I knew most of my teen years. Dad and he were socially friendly since they shared some common community relationships through church, work and little league baseball. He worked where I did and was always very friendly to me. He was a salesman and always showed a unique interest in me. He followed my high school athletics and always stayed current with team events where I was involved. He was a friendly and nice fellow. One day while we were talking he just blurted out that my Dad was the best man he has ever known. I was shocked. He just wanted me to know and that was that.

    I didn’t ask Dad about that right away but some event several decades later brought up the gentleman’s name and I asked Dad about their relationship. Dad indicated the man had a serious alcohol dependency and came to Dad for his help. He felt Dad’s approach to life was what he wanted and he just needed some help to get his life back on track. Dad said he did what he could. Apparently, he was forever grateful and truly appreciated the help.

    Most of the family has seen Dad’s recollection of his Navy days. His ship saw extensive action in the Atlantic and the Pacific. Their ship was involved in a horrific air and sea battle. The ship suffered massive damage and many lives were lost.

    When I was a child Dad described the event like “we got bombed, the ship was sinking, we jumped into the water stayed together and helped one another – and later were rescued by support ships”.

    Later in life I realized it probably wasn’t as simple as Dad stated. Dad talked about how stressful the event was and I could imagine the confusion of such a terrifying event – jumping from a burning ship, they stayed together, they shared life vests and moved into open water.

    A few years ago I was helping move some items out of Mom and Dad’s home. I ran across some of his historical recollections about the Navy days and found a special note. The note was from one of his shipmates who briefly described the frightening conditions in the water after abandoning ship.

    It was a statement of thanks “for Fred Skellie who helped us stay together, share life vests and kept us focused on getting rescued.”

    Dad was a good man. A loving father, devoted husband and a friend with a helping hand. He is the best man I’ve ever known.

    REV. REX KANEY:

    (Paraphrased by Don): Pastor Rex was real verbal artist. Having known Dad for so long he spun a tale about his goodness and compared the recent Pope selection with white smoke. He said if ever there was a qualified “Laity Pope” that Dad would be right up there and we would see a bunch of white smoke.

    (Paraphrased by a family friend): Rex also referred to Galatians about the fruits of the spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness”, which by golly, most of us can only hope aspire to, but your father nailed it! A tribute like that is the ultimate praise. What a legacy your Dad leaves.

    RONNIE SKELLIE, NEPHEW:

    (Paraphrased by Don): Ron spoke fondly of Dad as a favorite uncle and kind of a second Dad. He finally mentioned he and the twins had recently visited Mom and Dad and just before they left Dad pulled Ronnie down and whispered “I always liked Kenny the best”. It was a funny moment for the family.

    KAREN SKELLIE, DAUGHTER-IN-LAW:

    I’ve known Fred for 47 years: first as Bert’s “little friend” then as a daughter-in-law. I told him many times that I felt so lucky to have him as my second father.

    He was always cheerful, considerate and fun to be around.

    Of all of Fred’s wonderful qualities, his generosity stands out in many of my memories. He contributed his time and money to his family, his church and his community in many ways.

    He and Lucille gifted each child and spouse with a trip with them wherever we wanted to go back in the late 1980s. Bert and I explored Germany, Don and Elizabeth Hawaii, and Nancy and Gary chose Alaska. What delightful gifts and memories!

    He loved to be at the lake house at Lake Blue Ridge and especially loved to take us out in the boat to the middle of the lake to watch the sunset.

    A story I love to tell that illustrates his generosity happened at a Skellie reunion back in around 1976 when Bert and I were in Long Beach with our 2 year old son, Brian.

    We knew how Fred always wanted to pay for meals and motel rooms and knew we could afford to pay for our room (as we were quite adult), so Bert went to the desk and paid before breakfast on the day we were leaving. Later we found out that Fred had the desk clerk tear up our payment ….and he paid for the room despite our best attempts to circumvent him. We sort of gave in to his generosity after that.

    He was the sweetest man I’ve ever met. And an inspiration to reach out and give to others as he did.

    NANCY SKELLIE GERHARDT and husband GARY GERHARDT

    (read by Karen): Gary & I wish we could be with you, and all of you are in our prayers today.

    I remember Dad as a patient and kind father. When I was a child, he used his math skills to help me with word problems, which could bring me to tears of frustration. My right brain loved poetry, music & languages, but math created cross-eyed chaos. Dad explained the problem over & over until I grasped the concept like: “if there are six birds on a feeder- two yellow, three red & one black- all eating for 10 minutes each, how much bird seed would be left after one hour?”

    As an adult, I watched him take pleasure in using his math skills in everyday activities like enthusiastically measuring rainfall (3 & ¾ inches!) or counting birds spotted out the window at breakfast (12!). And tracking the number of blooms on Mom’s African violet (46!).

    I now realize that his life was filled with fun word problems.

    My husband, Gary, also appreciated Dad’s patience, as one of his many Lake Blue Ridge first-time water skiing students. Gary said, “After many failed attempts to get me up, we finally figured out my six-foot five-inch bulk was apparently greater than that boat engine’s horsepower could take, and it felt like I was starting to pull the boat backwards. How’s that for a math problem, Fred!”

    Gary was also taken with Dad’s kindness and humility. After their first meeting, Gary asked me if Dad was a minister. I said, “no,” but his grandfather was a Methodist minister.”

    Both Gary and I agree that Dad shared his faith through his patience and kindness while he loved God with his whole heart, soul, strength and mind, and loved his neighbor as himself.

    It was just apparent in everything he did.

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