WESTFIELD - John Joseph "Jack" Skahill, Jr., age 64, of McClurg St., Westfield, died with loved ones by his side on July 20, 2012 at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., after a year long battle with cancer.
Jack was born on Sept. 27, 1947 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of the late John J. and Dorothy T. (O'Brien) Skahill.
Left behind is his loving wife of 37 years, Eileen M. (Cornell) Skahill whom he married on July 5, 1975 in East Rockaway, N.Y.; his son and daughter-in-law, John and Karen Skahill of Rochester, N.Y.; his daughter, Bridget Ann Skahill of Hamburg, Germany; his sisters, Mary Louise (Robert) Stryjewski, of Fairfax, Va., and Katherine (Theodore) Zarembo, of Westport, Conn.; and many nephews, nieces and their children living across the country.
John Joseph Skahill, Jr.
Jack was preceded in death by his sister, Patricia Whitehead.
Jack enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Nov. 14, 1967 and became a Combat Corpsman serving aboard the USS Jennings County in Vietnam. He remained in the Naval Reserve for 30 years, attached to the Marines for half of that time, and retired as Master Chief Hospital Corpsman, of which he was most proud. He was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for his actions which saved the lives of two Marine Reservists in a training incident, and the Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Service Medal with two Bronze Stars for his tireless efforts to improve the training of Naval Reservists while stationed in Washington, D.C., and teaching a Navy Leadership course throughout the North East Region.
After his active duty military service he became a math and science teacher, graduating Cum Laude from South Hampton College of LIU. He continued his education obtaining a Masters in Educational Administration, from Adelphi University and additional courses of study to obtain his permanent certification in educational administration. After teaching for a short time, he was invited to become a part of the administrative team at Mt. Anthony Union HS in Bennington, Vt. He went on to hold administrative positions in Bennington, Vt., Livingston, Mont., Dubuque, Iowa, West Winfield, N.Y., Brookfield, N.Y., and Brocton, N.Y., where he retired as superintendent of schools in 2010. Jack spent many years working in various positions with the NYS Council of School Superintendents and Rural Schools. He enjoyed many hours of dialogue with our elected officials in attempts to improve education for all children.
Children were his passion, leading him at various times in his life to work with them as a Cub Scout Leader, confraternity teacher and mentor with the Rotary Interact Youth program.
He served his community as a lector and Eucharistic minister in Roman Catholic Parishes he attended and worked diligently with the Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club for many years.
Travel was another passion of Jack's, in which he indulged with his wife, family and friends throughout the U.S. and in Europe. As an avid golfer, he always found a course he could enjoy wherever he was - Maui, Ireland, Florida or Las Vegas - and especially loved his local course, Pinehurst, where he played several times a week until he became ill.
Skahill was a member of St. Dominic Roman Catholic Parish of Westfield, a life member of the West Winfield, N.Y., VFW Post 2338 and a current member of the JW Dill Post 434 American Legion of Brocton, N.Y.
Friends called on Wednesday, July 25 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m., at the MASON Funeral Home, 37 Clinton Street, Westfield, N.Y. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, July 26 morning at 11 a.m., at St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church, 15 Union Street, Westfield with Father Joseph Walter officiating. Navy honors will follow in St. James Cemetery. A Parish Rosary was held at the funeral home, Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.
Memorials may be left at the Funeral Home for his family or to Hospice of Chautauqua County, Palliative Care Program, 20 West Fairmont Avenue, Lakewood, N.Y. 14750. Log on to www.masonfuneral.com to send the Skahill family a message of sympathy.