August 12, 1937 – January 3, 2019
Lewis “Skip” Livingston leaves behind a beloved family, including two daughters, Charlotte Starks (David), Mesquite, TX, and Diane Bell (Ken), Hot Springs, AR; a son, David, Jacksonville, FL; four grandchildren: Bryan Bell (Stephanie), Temple, TX, Joshua Bell (Jaclyn), Kansas City, KS; James Starks, Audrey Starks, Mesquite, TX; and great granddaughter Lydia Bell, Temple, TX. Most recently Skip was a resident of Hot Springs, Arkansas, living with his daughter, Diane and her husband, Ken Bell. Skip’s parents passed long ago: Father Thea Lewis Lipscomb, Lt. Col. (ret.) in 1951; Mother, Ellen S. Livingston in 1979. Skip never met a stranger and leaves behind an unbelievable list of dear friends, classmates and acquaintances from his Florida and New Jersey days that made the move to Hot Springs difficult, but he made friends everywhere he went and quickly made friends in Hot Springs at AA meetings, doctor visits, hospitals, etc. The people he helped along their own “journey” and the Wednesday Night Group cannot go without mention as these individuals were always in his heart and were considered his family. Born in Monterey, CA, on the U.S. Army Presidio, Skip came east with his mother, the former Ellen Seller of Ridgewood, NJ at age 3, and lived in various New Jersey suburbs, including Ridgewood, where he ultimately graduated high school. Skip distinguished himself in leadership roles, particularly at the First Presbyterian Church of Ridgewood, being elected president of the youth fellowship and named Moderator of the Westminster Fellowship for Jersey City Presbytery. He earned Scouting’s highest rank, Eagle. Skip attended Duke University, where he pledged Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, worked on the campus newspaper, the Duke Chronicle, and majored in English. He completed his baccalaureate degree via the University of Maryland’s overseas program while serving in the U.S. Army. While stationed in Berlin after training as an infantryman, Skip was assigned to teach high school and preparatory education to soldiers at the Berlin Army Education Center and rose to the rank of Specialist 5. He witnessed the building of the Berlin Wall, he took an additional assignment guiding US servicemen on tours of walled-in East Berlin at the peak of the Cold War and became fluent in German. Following his honorable separation from active duty, Skip was hired by the Daytona Beach News-Journal in 1963 and learned the reporter’s craft. He worked for the News-Journal papers for two plus years, then was recruited by the Orlando Sentinel. In January of 1967 Skip entered a graduate study program in political science at the University of Florida. He designed a public opinion survey of faculty members’ voting in the 1968 presidential election and wrote a master’s thesis on his findings. He was elected president of the UF chapter of the political science honorary society, Pi Sigma Alpha. Skip was then recruited to join the executive staff of the infant University of North Florida in Jacksonville as the institution’s first public relations director in 1970. He developed a public relations program that won awards and resulted in UNF meeting its enrollment projections upon opening in 1972, a feat few other members of the State University System were to accomplish that year. Later Skip taught as an adjunct instructor in communications at UNF. After several years in the private sector as a public relations consultant, Skip returned to the newspaper world, joining the Florida Times-Union as a business columnist and later as business editor of the evening Jacksonville Journal. He left newspapering to become the founding editor of Jacksonville Monthly magazine, which later merged with Jacksonville magazine. He next created and launched a marketing magazine for the Jacksonville Port Authority in cooperation with a local design firm. Following the magazine experience, he established a public relations consultancy under the name of Skip & Co., and assisted some of the area’s major enterprises including the Tournament Players Championship, American Bank, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Tompkins-Beckwith Mechanical Contractors, DuPont Wire & Cable, FreshMInistries, Jacksonville University and others. Ultimately, however, Skip heeded the siren song of the newspaper business once again and returned to the Florida Times-Union as research manager, a position he held until retirement in 2009. On June 10, 1985, the 50th anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, Skip took his last drink of alcohol and began a life of sobriety. He remained an active member of A.A. for the rest of his life, attending meetings in many cities and serving passionately. In his community, Skip served in many volunteer capacities. He was a board member of the North Florida Chapter of Florida Public Relations Association; a board member of the North Florida Lung Association, a member of South Jacksonville Rotary, for which he served as a member of the board of directors for two different terms. He was drafted to serve as chairman of the board of directors of the Spina Bifida Association of Jacksonville and oversaw major reforms in the structure and policies of the non-profit organization. Skip served as public relations chair for the Greater Jacksonville Open, the golf tournament that provided the core for The Players Championship. Later in life Skip became active in the North Florida theatre community, performing comedic parts in plays at Theatre Jacksonville, Shakespeare at the Met (Theater Jacksonville), Players by the Sea, the Limelight Theater and A Classic Theater (ACT) in St. Augustine. His interest in theatre extended to the silver screen. Skip amassed a file of approximately 3,000 movies he had viewed in his lifetime to which he added his own Siskel & Ebert style of review and rating. Skip was a very patriotic person and raised his children with the love of country at heart. He loved a parade and he was everyone’s favorite dinner guest, he was quite the storyteller with total recall and accuracy like no other. He loved history and geography and knew it all so well. He loved travelling, the seashore, food, Fine Arts, cooking, reading, the outdoors, Duke Basketball, Gator Football, but most of all he loved his family and loved spending time with those he loved and loved him dearly. Poppy, as he was so endearingly called, will be sincerely and deeply missed and would very much appreciate a donation to the American Cancer Society in his honor. http:/main.acsevents.org/goto/skip_livingston.
- American Cancer Society
Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery
2000 Mountain Creek Parkway
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January 9, 2019
I enjoyed getting to know Skip the past couple of years, and we became closer in the past few months going for rides in my car. He had such a positive attitude and outlook on life even though his health was failing. He was part of a special group of friends who met together on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings and we will all greatly miss him. He was one of a kind, yet one with all of us.
Hot Springs Village, AR