James Kenneth Skipper

July 31, 1940December 31, 2010

James Kenneth Skipper was born in Savannah, Georgia on July 31, 1940 and passed away in Austin, Texas on December 31, 2010.

Jim grew up in Georgia, and after graduating from Screven County High school, he joined the US Navy. Jim served for 3 years aboard the USS Wasp, in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. After the Navy, Jim returned to his home state, and attended the University of Georgia, home of his beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Jim earned his Bachelor’s , Master’s, and Doctorate degrees in Zoology and Biochemistry. During his time at the University, Jim met and married Patricia Townson Skipper.

Jim was a devoted family man, married to the love of his life, wife Patricia for over 47 years. Together they had a son, Jeff; and twin daughters, Laura and Lynn; as well as, six grandchildren who were the delight of his life. He was a dedicated research scientist at The University of Texas; his work focused on the endocrine system and cancer research. He touched the lives of countless aspiring medical and nursing students, teaching courses in molecular and cell biology. In retirement, he indulged his life long passions of art and travel, on trips throughout the United States, Canada, Italy, and France. He brought home memories from those trips and committed them to oil and canvas; his works are treasured by his family. This past summer, Jim enjoyed a weeklong trip to the Rocky Mountains with his wife, children, and grandchildren, who will cherish those memories forever.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Ina Mae and David Eugene Skipper, and his brother, Charles Walker.

He is survived by his devoted wife, Patricia; son, Jeffrey; daughter, Laura Ritchie and husband Keith; daughter, Lynn Sims and husband Craig; and grandchildren, Paige and Justin Skipper, Sarah and Georgia Ritchie, and Rachel and Emily Sims. He is also survived by his brother, Gordon Walker and wife Shirley; and his brother, Neil Skipper and wife Ginny.

A memorial service remembering Jim will be at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, January 5, 2011, at Cook-Walden/Chapel of the Hills Funeral Home on Anderson Mill Road.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the American Heart Association or to the American Kidney Fund.

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  • Memorial Service Wednesday, January 5, 2011

James Kenneth Skipper

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Ken Shuck

December 18, 2011

I knew Skipper only a short time. We were in electroics school oh, it must have been 1959. I don't recall what type of technician he became but I became a Airman Navigation and Communications technician. I recall we rode a bus together from Norman Oklahoma to Memphis Tennesse. Our names we called out for a stint of mess cooking but I held his hand to keep him in formation. Enough people stepped forward so we didn't have to go. Instead we started the six months of schooling.
I had no idea where Skipper went but I asked for a seaplane squadron which I was given as not many people wanted to work in that type of squadron. At the time I has this serious girlfriend that wanted to get married. I asked for a shore duty station and sea planes were always shore based. It was about the middle of June as I married June 25th 1959. We've been married now over 52 years.

I'm saddened to hear of his passing. It would have been nice to have gotten with him but I had no way of knowing his whereabouts.

Ken Shuck

Judith Bergeron

March 1, 2011

Since I left UT in 1998, I have thought of Jim often - especially when I drink a lot of coffee! Jim was a great teacher to many students, both graduate and undergrad. Even though I am not still directly in academics or research, I still rely on many of the things Jim taught me when I was working with him in the "upstairs" lab.
To his family - thanks for sharing him with us. I am sorry for your loss - hopefully the great memories are already replacing the sadness.

January 11, 2011

I did not know Dr. Skipper, but I did know Laura some years ago when she worked in my lab. My condolences to Ms. Skipper and to the rest of the family.

Dennis McFadden

January 10, 2011

I cherish the memories and times that we got to come to Austin and visit. You always took the extra step to make sure our visit was enjoyable. You will dearly be missed. To Aunt Patsy, Jeff, Laura and Lynn, my thoughts and prayers are with you all. Love Yal Dearly, Gina!! (Tifton, Ga)

January 9, 2011

My memories of Skip begin when he was 23 or 24. He was a happy but very serious young man with blond hair and glasses. He was tall and lanky and very nice to look at. He seemed like such a good matrimony candidate for my best friend that I did every thing I could do to encourage a romance. I had to be careful not to go too far with my comments as my good friend at a lofty two years older than I was didn't always appreciate my exuberance. My friend didn't seem to think too highly of him at first - too much of a bookworm for a practical, hardworking young lady who had by then been on her own and self supporting for 5 years! However, thankfully Skip won her over and I had the pleasure of being maid of honor at a summer wedding in South GA. I think the temperature was near 100 at this
beautiful little church wedding. This was one of the highlights of my life knowing my friend was in good hands and would have a good life.

Skip was a calming influence with his drool comments and occasional jokes. He was willing to go along with most anything we asked of him. He has well mannered and kind. He never talked about himself or anybody else for that manner. He just didn't talk a lot but when he did it was usually something witty. He had some good friends that he introduced to Melba and me. I often wonder what life became for these friends of his. He had an especially good friend who died after some kind of elective surgery as a medical student at Johns Hopkins. I remember Skip as the science student. I often wondered if teaching was hard for him since he wasn't much of a talker. But, he did well in his field.

Although we were separated for many years, I always had the feeling things were still the same. When we did get together it was like we had never been separated. It seemed we just took up where we left off. I remember Skip saying he had to chastise one of his daughters for talking in her husband in a manner he didn't approve of. This was said in such a serious manner I had the impression he had never "fussed at his girls" very much but when he did it was effective. You could tell how proud he was of each child and grandchild.

I am deeply saddened that Skip left us all at such a "young age" as I planned to retire eventually and do some traveling with him and Pat. I know Pat will be lonely but surrounded
by loving children and grandchildren, she will be comforted and protected.

With the loss of Skip, the world lost one of the finest people I have known in my life.

Pat Brown

Hugh Forrest

January 6, 2011

I was Chairman for a time of the now defunct Zoology Department in which Jim functioned. I did not have much contact with him but when I did it was always laconic which suited me fine! I did learn that he had become a golf enthusiast which, my being a Scotsman where it all began, meant that he was OK!

Thane Wibbels

January 6, 2011

I worked with Jim at UT for about 4 years and of all the people I worked with he was my favorite. GREAT personality. A great loss, but a bit of Jim's personality will live on in all that knew him and learned from him.

Lori & Dennis Featherstone

January 5, 2011

Jim was a true friend and an inspiration; he will be greatly missed. May God's peace and loving arms hold close all those dear to him in this difficult time.

Cliff & Denise Vasicek

January 5, 2011

Your family are in our prayers. May God help you in your time of sorrow.

Kimberly & Doug McQuaid

January 5, 2011

Jeff and the Skipper family, our love and support will always be here for you.