Obituaries » Wilma Belyea Skinner
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November 8, 1927 - December 15, 2020
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In the early morning hours of Monday, December 15, 2020, Wilma Belyea Skinner went to be with her Lord. She was 93 years old. Her survivors include her husband of 63 years, James Milton Skinner, her two children, Joan Anita Will (Bill) and David Eugene Skinner, her four grandchildren: Daniel and Abigail Skinner and Emily and Matthew Will, her sister-in-law, Ann Malone, and several nieces and nephews.
Wilma was born on November 8, 1927 in the small town of Glenncliff, New Hampshire. She was the only child of Helen Inez Perry Belyea (1907-1993) and William Belyea (1901-1979). Both of her parents were from large families – her childhood playmates consisted mostly of younger aunts and cousins. She attended grammar school in a one-room schoolhouse, which was located next to her home (it is still there – it is now the Glenncliff Community Chapel). In 1945, she graduated from Plymouth High School where she excelled in Home Economics and Typing/Shorthand. After high school she worked in housekeeping at the Glenncliff Sanatorium for Tuberculosis. (In 1970 it was converted into The Glenncliff Home for the Elderly, but many of those who grew up in Glenncliff still refer to it as “The San”). The Depression was felt by all in her community, but her family was very resourceful. They raised most of their own food, hunted and fished, and took on various jobs to make ends meet including running snowplows, raising bait for fishing, carpentry work, and taking in boarders, who were usually young men working temporary jobs in the community. During this time, Wilma stayed with friends of the family so that her room could be used as well to help the family earn extra money.
Wilma had a desire to see what city life was like. After her cousin Phyllis Belyea moved to Washington, DC, Wilma soon followed. Phyllis returned to Glenncliff after a year, but Wilma enjoyed the DC area and decided to stay. She lived in a Boarding House with roommates and lifelong friends Ina Mae (Channel) and Julie (Cochran). She obtained a clerical job at the FBI Headquarters where she made other long lasting friendships. An invitation by a family friend brought her to the First Brethren Church located on 12th and E Streets. It was there that she met James Skinner, where after a short courtship were married on November 8, 1957. They lived in an apartment in Arlington Virginia that first year of marriage before moving to their first home in Camp Springs, Maryland. Wilma continued to work until after the birth of her first child, Joan. She was content being a housewife, mother and enjoyed various hobbies such as sewing, baking, gardening, and raising African violets. Although she missed her family in Glenncliff, she was faithful to write them twice a week as well as calling them early on Wednesday and Sunday mornings to share the latest news in her life. She supported her husband Jim as he worked for the DC Government during the day while taking night classes. After 10 years of night classes, Jim would earn his master’s degree in Mathematics/Accounting.
As the years went by and her children grew up, Wilma enjoyed teaching first grade Sunday School at Riverdale
Baptist Church. She also enjoyed Tuesday morning Ladies Bible Studies at the Washington Bible College in
Lanham, Maryland with Dr. Miles, the College President, going grocery shopping with her friend Francis Scott, attending Christian Concerts with her children, and reading Christian Fiction. After her children moved out and married, Wilma and Jim moved to Lynchburg, Virginia where they have lived since 1993. Wilma continued to enjoy sewing, especially for her grandchildren, gardening, canning, and attending Church at Heritage Baptist Church, and remained a voracious reader. She was always willing to share her books with other friends after she was done reading the series.
Per Wilma’s wishes, there will be no viewing or service. In lieu of flowers family request that a donation be made in Wilma Skinner’s name to the Youth Ministry at Heritage Baptist Church.
Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.