Lewis Thomas (Tom) Skinner, Sr.
Graveside services for Lewis Thomas Skinner, Sr., 87, Gamaliel, Arkansas, will be held at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, March 4, 2021 at Howell Memorial Park Cemetery, under the direction of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.
Tom passed away Sunday morning, February 28, 2021, at the home of his daughter, Orvella Blackburn.
He was born August 25, 1933, to the late Henry and Zora Mullins Skinner in the Hutton Valley, Missouri, area. Tom attended school in Hutton Valley, Missouri, and Los Angeles, California. He was the sixth of nine children. Tom was shy growing up. From a young age, Tom was a hard worker. His first job was delivering newspapers in Los Angeles. After a few years in California, the family moved back to the West Plains area. Tom began laying brick with his Dad at the age of 16 along with his brothers, Bud and Bob. Tom met his first true love, Lola “Faye” Howell in West Plains, Missouri, in the early 1950s. They were on a double date but not with each other. At the end of that date, Tom drove everyone home. After having found out where Faye lived, Tom showed up at her home the next weekend to ask her out. That was the beginning of their love story. They married in 1954. They lived in Willow Springs, Missouri, before eventually moving to West Plains. From this marriage, Lewis Thomas Skinner, Jr. and Orvella Faye Skinner were born. Faye was tragically taken from Tom and family on December 31, 1981.
Tom served in the United States Army from August 4, 1953 to June 21, 1955. Part of his service time, he was stationed in Germany where he served as a welder. In 1976, Tom began teaching masonry at West Plains High School VoTech. He taught for seventeen years before retiring in 1984. He was a popular teacher with his students. In 1982, Tom met Ora “Marie” Brundige. He and Marie each got a second chance at true love. They married on June 3, 1983. Tom gained another daughter, Carrie, that day. Tom’s favorite pastime was fishing, and his favorite fishing buddy was Marie. Their favorite place to fish was Red Bank Campground in Gamaliel, Arkansas, at Norfork Lake. In 2002, they built their dream house next to the old campground. They experienced many great adventures there. They attended Gamaliel Church of Grace as long as their health allowed. Tom loved his family and friends, besides fishing, he enjoyed hunting, watching old westerns, country music, dancing with Marie, and helping Marie lay out her beautiful quilt patterns. Marie preceded him in death on September 4, 2020.
Tom is survived by his son, Lewis Thomas Skinner, Jr. and his wife, Martha Jeanette “Jan” Skinner, of Gamaliel, Arkansas; his daughter, Orvella Blackburn and her husband, Randy Blackburn, of Willard, Missouri; his brother Robert “Bob” Skinner and his wife, Beth Skinner, of Pomona, Missouri; his sister, Rosemary Holloway and her husband, Les Holloway, of West Plains, Missouri; a daughter by marriage, Carrie Windes, and her husband, Rick Windes, of Springfield, Missouri; five granddaughters: Shawna Conner, Angele DeWeese, Sherry Uchtman, Kelli and Kayla Windes; bonus granddaughters, Andrea Tuhey, Chrissy Stillings and Erica Hawkins; bonus grandsons: Robert “Bob” Ruiz and Jerrett Sussman; nineteen great grandchildren and a great-great grandson; a host of nieces and nephews, and other relatives and friends who will miss him very much.
In addition to his parents, Tom is preceded in death by his first wife, Lola Faye Skinner of 27 years; his second wife, Ora Marie Skinner of 37 years; five sisters, Dolora Johnson, Helen Blair, Edith Raney, Francis Carter and Wilma Tom; and one brother, Henry “Bud” Skinner.
Mr. Skinner will lie in state from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home in West Plains. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 West Main, West Plains, MO 65775.