James M. Skaja

July 4, 1926November 14, 2020

James Martin Skaja passed away November 14, 2020 of natural causes at the age of 94. Jim was a proud American Veteran who courageously served his country with the US Navy, US Army and US Air Force for over 30 years. Jim was one of a kind and, being that his birthday was the 4th of July, he was destined to be a true American patriot. Jim was born in Marcell, Minnesota and helped on his family farm until he graduated from high school. After graduation, he joined the Navy and served throughout the South Pacific during World War II, sailing to Tokyo Bay as the war came to an end. He later joined the Army for service during the Korean War and subsequently switched to the Air Force after it was established in 1947. In 1952 during his early AF career, Jim took part in atom bomb testing, positioned in a foxhole in the Nevada Desert as part of Operation Tumbler Snapper -- something he dutifully kept secret until it was declassified in 1994. Despite the devastating effects of the massive radiation he experienced, Jim was proud of his time in service to his country and was honored to be recognized as an Atomic Veteran, one of a fortunate few who survived long enough to tell their story.

After his retirement from the Air Force as a Chief Master Sergeant in 1975, Jim worked for Boeing Aircraft Company as a test manager for the B-1 Bomber. Upon retirement from Boeing, Jim unselfishly spent his retirement years volunteering at nursing homes and the Omaha VA Medical Center helping his fellow Veterans and their families. Jim was a founding member of the Veterans Advisory Group in 2011, contributing greatly to the success of the group and revered for his common sense and tenacity. Jim was also an active member and volunteer at St. Mary's Church in Bellevue as part of the Legion of Mary and Perpetual Adoration.

Jim was a dedicated husband to his wife Jean who preceded him in death in 2010. He was a beloved father of four children, grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of 10. Jim will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.



  • Celebration of Life to be held next Spring

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James M. Skaja

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cynthia douglas-ybarra

November 22, 2020

Jim was one of my favorite "Red Coats" at the VA Hospital. He selflessly gave his time to assist other Veterans as they navigated the Omaha VA. He will be missed by many. Thank you for your service Jim. Godspeed.

Carla Griffin

November 19, 2020

My deepest condolences to the Skaja family. Jim was an amazing man and a incredible support to our family when we needed it the most. Well done, good and faithful servant!
Carla Harrison

Tom Ross

November 18, 2020

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the James Skaja family!! May your memories comfort you in these trying times. Rest in Peace Uncle Jim!!

Shelley Weeks Carmichael

November 17, 2020

Sending love and prayers to all the family. Uncle Jim was the ultimate hero, continuing to serve others and his country for his entire life.

Leslie Weeks Sanford

November 17, 2020

Sending my deepest sympathy to the Skaja family on the passing of Uncle Jim. May your wonderful memories bring you peace in your time of sorrow. Love, Leslie

Vicente Y

November 17, 2020


On behalf of 1 of the 11 children of the late United States Marine veteran - L.G. and Shirley Harrison (Korea - Staff Sergeant); salutes a truly genuine and caring individual Jim Skaja and the love he bestowed upon our family in our time of grievance. Peace be unto Jim and his family during this troubling time. Deepest condolences to all of his loved ones. We are thankful we were able to catch this announcement to pay respect. Sincerely ~ The Harrison Family ~ #10 of #11 ~ Vicente 😔

Cathy Harrison Banks

November 17, 2020

Jim was a wonderful man! I believe that he befriended my dad at the VA and his friendship was cherished by both of my parents until their passing on 2017. Rest in peace, Mr Skaja.

Paula Peters

November 17, 2020

Mr. Skaja was a true hero, kind soul, and selfless gentleman. I knew him in his role with the Omaha VA Hospital and Veteran's Advisory Group. Heartfelt blessings to your family and thank you for sharing this very special man with so many of us. Paula K. Peters


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