OBITUARY

Arthur Chester Skinner Jr.

February 20, 1922August 7, 2020

Arthur Chester Skinner, Jr. - loving father, beloved grandfather and great-grandfather, friend and mentor to many - went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on August 7, 2020. Chester lived over 98 years in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida where he raised his family, operated a dairy business, served on multiple community boards and contributed to the growth and expansion of Jacksonville. He devoted his life to his faith, family and the encouragement and betterment of others. Chester was a devoted steward of the land, and was most at home joining his family at the annual Skinner Thanksgiving reunions held on the family property since the early 1950s.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida on February 20, 1922, Chester attended The Bolles School where he graduated in 1940 as valedictorian, class president, battalion commander and honor cadet. He remained loyal to his alma mater throughout his life and developed a lifelong passion and joy to pass on educational opportunity to others.

Upon graduating from Bolles, Mr. Skinner continued his education at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree and was named valedictorian of his class in 1943. The definition of a student athlete, Mr. Skinner continued his pursuit of athletics during his time at Georgia Tech by participating on the football, basketball, track and wrestling teams. In 1999, Mr. Skinner was honored by being inducted into the Georgia Tech Engineering Hall of Fame.

Out of service to his country, Mr. Skinner graduated from Georgia Tech a year early to enlist in the U.S. Army and received his commission in the Seacoast Artillery at Fort Monroe, Virginia in April of 1943. Here he led the charge of making design modifications, testing and assembling super-secret radar units, as well as training personnel.

After completing his military service, Mr. Skinner returned to Jacksonville and was employed by Reynolds, Smith and Hills - a local engineering and architectural firm - before starting a new venture with his brother, Brightman. Together they formed Meadowbrook Farms, a wholesale and retail dairy company serving Northeast Florida. Following the sale of Meadowbrook in 1985, he committed his time to the family-owned businesses of farming and cattle, timber operations, real estate and investments.

While family operations kept him busy, Mr. Skinner was also deeply civic-minded and committed to the improvement of his hometown. He was instrumental in the planning and donation of family lands for the University of North Florida campus, J. Turner Butler Blvd., Interstate 295, St. Luke’s Hospital and the A.C. Skinner Memorial Youth baseball complex - named in honor of his late father.

Chester served the Jacksonville community through his role as Director of American National Bank and founding Director of Memorial Hospital and Trustee of The Bolles School. He maintained a close relationship with Bolles through his ongoing support of the school, and his passion for student athletic programs where the Florida High School Activities Association formally recognized him for his outstanding contributions to high school athletics.

Mr. Skinner was also a life-long member of Riverside Park United Methodist Church where he met his loving wife of 45 years, Katherine Godfrey, who died in 1996. Together they raised four children with unwavering love and support. Six years later, he married Constance Stone - also a member of Riverside Park Methodist - and enjoyed the remainder of his life together.

Chester is preceded in death by his parents, Arthur Chester Skinner and Virginia Brightman Skinner, his wife, Katherine Godfrey Skinner and his brother, Charles Brightman Skinner. He is survived by wife, Constance Stone Skinner; sister, Mary Virginia Skinner Jones; his four children, Arthur Chester Skinner III (Jenifer), Katherine Skinner Newton (Rusty), David Godfrey Skinner (Kim) and Christopher Forrest Skinner (Erin); 15 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.

Always a gentleman, Mr. Skinner will be remembered by his family and life-long friends as a loving father, deeply devoted to his family, true to his faith and generous with his talents, treasures and wisdom.

The family wishes to especially thank Edison Arnold, Jr. (PeeWee) - a trusted employee and friend for over 47 years; Pam Walker - Mr. Skinner’s assistant for over 20 years; Fredricka Skerrett and Judy DePass - caregivers. Due to Covid 19, the family will have a private graveside service and plan on having a “Celebration of Life” at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Skinner Family Endowment for Bolles Athletics.

Memories

Arthur Chester Skinner Jr.

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Stanley Shaw

September 28, 2020

I've know Chester since 1987 I think it was , he was the Epitome of what a human being ought to be. I'm sure its all been said already that he was kind, generous, honest and caring, because he was. Im not good at doing stuff like this but, I'm a better person for knowing this man, I just want his family to know how he and his family have touched my life in so many ways. Chester was a Godly man so I know where he's at right now, he's with the Lord, no question in my mind about that. I will miss him. It's taken a while for me to write this and post it, like I said I'm not good at stuff like this, and I lost my son a few years back and well things like this has gotten hard for me to face because of that. I wish the family all the best, and may God Bless you.

Ben BLACK

August 16, 2020

I didn't know this man, but just reading his obituary in the paper made me think he is a prime example of the greatest generation. Prayers to the family.

Bootsy Haas

August 16, 2020

I am deeply sorry for your loss. Your Dad did so many wonderful things for this town and so many that knew him. My parents Brooks and Harriet Haas we’re dear friends for many years with your parents. One of my fondest memories from childhood was visiting the farm. We did that often, but this particular time, I am pretty sure it was your dad that put me on the back of one of the cows to ride.
My mom died 3 months ago so I understand your pain all to well. Losing your parent even when they had a long and wonderful life is very hard. Love to you all Bootsy Haas


Sam Mclaughlin

August 15, 2020

After many years of knowing Chester as a customer then turned into good friends. The best thing I can say about Chester is if I could duplicate my life after him he is the BEST example of any man I have ever met to follow. I loved Chester like a father! I will see you in heaven Chester.

Judy DePass

August 15, 2020

Mr A.C. Chester Skinner (Papa, as I affectionately called him) was a fine extraordinary exemplar individual . Kind, honest, loving, caring, Gentleman. During the 2 years that I knew him and had the privilege of taking care of him as a Caregiver, I went on a fantastic journey with him, showing me the kinder, nurturing side of life. I will miss him daily, and still can't believe he's gone....Gone but Never Forgotten.. You made a massive impact on me mentally and spiritually...." Go with the Angels Papa, you're resting in God's bosom....Eternal Peace and Joy is your Just Reward in Heaven "

Foxworthy Family

August 12, 2020

To Chip and Jenifer and the rest of the Skinner family,

Jeff and I, along with countless others, mourn your loss. What a truly great man who left a beautiful legacy and made an impact for good! We need more men like him! We thank God for his life. We thank God for the lives he touched. We thank God for his family. We love you.

Jeff and Gregg

Douglas Cusic

August 10, 2020

Saddened to hear of Mr. Skinner's passing. He was a true Southern gentleman and a good friend. He always encouraged me when times were tough, and believed in me even when I had my own doubts. I worked on many artistic projects for him and his faith in my abilities were undaunted. He had a kind, easy going soul, touched with a great sense of humor, extremely generous and helped me through many rough patches. I considered him as close to a second father more than anyone else could have been. His sons, too, are great guys and outstanding businessmen and gentlemen in their own right and that says a lot about how they were reared. There's a huge hole in my heart now by the loss of this fine man.

Gary and Kathryn Wintercorn

August 10, 2020

To Chip Skinner, Chris Skinner, David Skinner and Kathy Skinner Newton,

Gary and I send our condolences for the loss of Chester "Papa" Skinner. It was a pleasure visiting with him when we came to Jacksonville. We are sure he will be greatly missed.
Our love and prayers for you in the coming days as you revisit your life experiences with him. God can heal your pain and turn your tears to laughter.
God bless you all!

Sincerely,
Gary and Kathryn Wintercorn

Enid Kozlowski

August 9, 2020

Chester was a true Christian man who practiced what he believed. He was kind, generous and a true southern gentleman . He will be missed by family and friends.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY