Our father, Glenn Skinner, passed away pain free August 19, 2019 in Redmond, WA. He was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1934 the 3rd of 4 boys.
Glenn’s parent’s, Durain and Lydia (Gerber), moved west due to his father’s rheumatic fever heart condition, which was problematic for a corn farmer in hot and humid Iowa. In the middle of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, the prospects were not good for the Skinner’s.
Like the Beverly Hillbillies, the Skinners packed up their Model A Ford and headed west with the “Okies”. They drove south through Texas, across the desert southwest, into southern California, and then north up highway 99 to Washington. Durain was deeded land on Lincoln Creek outside Chehalis, Washington. Now, the family had a house with a farm in a cooler, less humid environment.
Life was tough as Glenn’s father died from his heart condition 10 years later, leaving his mother a widow with 4 growing boys. Lydia married twice more but both husbands, Ben and Leon, passed away of natural causes.
Glenn graduated in 1952 from W.F. West High School in Chehalis. He raised rabbits with the Future Farmers of America and played the sousaphone in the marching band among other activities.
One night, Glenn attended a dance at Centralia’s Grange Hall and met a young, beautiful farm girl named Joyce. They connected, married and Joyce became his guiding light, leading him to Eugene and a master’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Oregon.
Glenn was hired by one of his life long mentors Principal Lucille Dickey, as the math teacher and coach (of all sports) at Mohawk High School in Marcola, Oregon in the late 1950’s. He loved learning and coaching 8-man football at such a small school. Glenn thrived at Mohawk, both in the classroom and coaching but the family wanted “to get
closer to home”.
In 1964, Glenn interviewed with longtime Bainbridge superintendent, Neal Nunamaker, who would become his second influential mentor. Nunamaker, the former BHS mathematics chair, was looking for someone like himself – plus he needed teachers to coach after school. Glenn was hired as Math Department Head in 1964 and proudly served until his retirement in 1990.
Glenn was introduced to legendary Bainbridge coaches: Tom Paski and Dean Scherer. Under Paski, he coached freshman basketball; alongside Dean, he assisted with varsity football. In 1967, Numamaker surprised him and asked if he’d like to become head football coach. He was shocked but accepted.Dean headed up defense and Glenn offense (relying on his 8-man offensive experience in Oregon) to carry the Spartans to their first major, league championship in 1968 – a great accomplishment for a school known for its basketball program!
If you attended BHS from 1964-1990, you probably had an Algebra class with Mr. Skinner, good or bad. He was tough but fair, and most students accepted this. He wrote many handwritten college recommendation letters for students aspiring to attend great schools – most were accepted.
Glenn Skinner is woven into the fabric of Bainbridge Island as he arrived at a time with other great teachers, many of whom remained their entire careers. The Bainbridge school system became a “destination” because who wouldn’t want to live and work there? Glenn arrived in those pivotal years when the Island became a “commuter” residence. The population increased, and Bainbridge continued its excellence as one of the State’s great public school systems.
Glenn is survived by his children Ross (Kim) Santa Barbara, Tryna (Wayne) Snohomish and his two “favorite” grandchildren Blair and Meredith. Many nieces and nephews survive him. His wife Joyce, parents and brothers, Duane, Miles and Burdette Skinner, along with his stepfather Ben Anderson and stepbrothers Clayton and Norm Anderson, and his stepfather Leon Chalmers, all preceded him in death.
Remembrances may be made to the Bainbridge Island Fire Department. Please leave a memory at: www.weremember.com/glenn-skinner/2n9a/memories
A Memorial service will be held at a future date.