Lewis ‘Tom’ Skinner Sr., 87

Graveside services for Lewis Thomas Skinner Sr., 87, of Gamaliel, Arkansas, will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 4, 2021, at Howell Memorial Park Cemetery. He will lie in state from 6 until 8 p.m. today (Wednesday) at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home in West Plains. Mr. Skinner died Feb. 28 at the home of his daughter in Willard. 

He was born Aug. 25, 1933, in the Hutton Valley, Missouri, area, the sixth of the nine children of Henry and Zora Mullins Skinner. He attended school in Hutton Valley and in Los Angeles, California. He was shy growing up, but he was a hard worker, even from a young age. His first job was delivering newspapers in Los Angeles.

After a few years in California, the family moved back to the West Plains area. At age 16, Mr. Skinner, with his brothers Bud and Bob, began laying brick with their dad. He met his first true love, Lola “Faye” Howell in West Plains in the early 1950s when they were on a double date – but not with each other. At the end of that date, Mr. Skinner drove everyone home. After having found out where Faye lived, he showed up at her home the next weekend to ask her out. They were married in 1954 and lived in Willow Springs before eventually moving to West Plains. Their children are Lewis Thomas Skinner Jr. and Orvella Faye Skinner Blackburn. Tragically, Mrs. Skinner died on Dec. 31, 1981. 

Mr. Skinner served in the Army from Aug. 4, 1953, until June 21, 1955. During part of his service time he was stationed in Germany, where he served as a welder. In 1976, he began teaching masonry at West Plains High School VoTech. He was a popular teacher and taught for 17 years before retiring in 1984. 

In 1982, he met Ora “Marie” Brundige. They were married June 3, 1983. With the marriage, Mr. Skinner gained another daughter, Carrie.

His favorite pastime was fishing, and his favorite fishing buddy was Marie. Their favorite place to fish was Red Bank Campground on Norfork Lake in Gamaliel. In 2002, they built their dreamhouse next to the old campground and experienced many great adventures there. They attended Gamaliel Church of Grace as long as their health allowed. 

Mr. Skinner loved his family and friends. Besides fishing, he enjoyed hunting, watching old westerns, country music, dancing with Marie and helping her lay out her beautiful quilt patterns.

He is survived by his son Lewis Thomas Skinner Jr. and wife Martha Jeanette “Jan” of Gamaliel; his daughter Orvella Blackburn and husband Randy of Willard; his brother Robert “Bob” Skinner and wife Beth of Pomona; his sister Rosemary Holloway and husband Les of West Plains; a daughter by marriage, Carrie Windes and her husband Rick of Springfield; five granddaughters, Sherry Uchman of Gainesville, Shawna Conner, Angele DeWeese and Kelli and Kayla Windes; “bonus” granddaughters Andrea Tuhey, Chrissy Stillings and Erica Hawkins; “bonus” grandsons Robert “Bob” Ruiz and Jerrett Sussman; 19 great-grandchildren and a great-great grandson; several nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife of 27 years, Lola Faye Skinner; his second wife of 37 years, Ora Marie Skinner, who died Sept. 4, 2020; five sisters, Dolora Johnson, Helen Blair, Edith Raney, Francis Carter and Wilma Tom; and one brother, Henry “Bud” Skinner.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 W. Main St., West Plains, MO 65775.  

Arrangements by Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, West Plains. 

Ozark County Times

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