In September 2010 the Winnipeg Library Foundation held a gathering of friends, family, and volunteers to honour the contributions of Mr. George Skinner to our organization. George was a board member who gave generously of his time and energy to the work of the Foundation. He continues to be missed by his many associates.
As a fitting tribute, the offices of the Winnipeg Library Foundation were renamed the George Skinner Offices.
Dedication photo, from left to right: Ms. Paula Mitchell, Co-chair; Ms. Thuraya Weedon; Ms. Sandy Hyman, Co-chair; Ms. Karen Keppler, Past Chair.
GEORGE FREDERICK SKINNER 1953 – 2009
George was born April 30, 1953, in Carman, Manitoba, eldest son of Eleanor and Fred Skinner, brother to Lynne and Carol and, later, Douglas. Life above Skinner’s Red and White Store in Elm Creek was simple with few amenities. A mischievous little boy, George is remembered for his constant smile and hilarious pranks. Special memories of those years include visits to Winnipeg and to Morris to see Grandma and Grandpa. In 1959, the family moved to Winnipeg. Young George embraced life, school and family. He quickly met lifelong friends Lorne, Mark, Ian and Stew. The Skinner family was very close, getting together at Morris, Red Rock Lake and Rainy Lake. An excellent student, George earned a Gold Medal and received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba. In 1975, George married Cathie Andrews, his high school sweetheart, and moved to Ottawa to work for the Canadian Transport Commission. In Ottawa, George and Cathie spent time with their nephews and nieces and children of their friends. They shared their love of home renovation, cooking, music, movies, skating, bowling, riding bicycles and motorcycles, and their pets (Kitty, Sylvester and Winnie-the-Pooch). George worked for the Departments of Finance and Industry and then took a two year interchange assignment as Vice-President, Policy and Research with the Business Council on National Issues in 1994. In 1996, George and Cathie came back to Winnipeg, settling in Crescentwood and reconnecting with family and old friends. George returned to the Government of Canada as Director General for Western Economic Diversification Canada. George became reacquainted with Thuraya, a junior high school friend. Both George and Thuraya had recently experienced the loss of their spouses. They fell in love and were married on June 22, 2002. With his marriage to Thuraya, George also became the father to Thuraya’s three sons and a grandfather. George quickly grew into these new roles and was always there with fatherly advice and assistance. George clearly loved his time with the grandchildren, whether it be fishing trips to Rainy Lake or going for ATV rides at the farm. In 2003, George moved to Service Canada as the Regional Executive Head, Manitoba. Saskatchewan operations were added to his responsibilities in 2007. George and Thuraya were avid travelers and nature lovers, always exploring exotic locales. In Thuraya’s ecotourism business, George eagerly lent a helping hand on the Churchill tours, summer beluga whale watching and fall polar bear adventures. Some of George’s favourite trips were to South Africa (where he met Thuraya’s extended family), the Galapagos Islands, and the Orinoco Delta in South America. George was predeceased by his parents and first wife Cathie. George is survived and fondly remembered by his wife Thuraya; sons Michael (Kelly), Philip and Stephen; grandchildren Daniel, Isaiah, and Aisha; sisters Lynne Pearen (Dave) and Carol Gillies (Greg) and brother Douglas; aunts, nieces and nephews, cousins and great nieces and great nephews. An inspiration to family, friends, and colleagues, George was an example of patience, tolerance, kindness and strength. George will be sadly missed by everyone he touched.