Services for Jack William Skeels will be on Monday, April 25, at 10:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont Street, Lawrence, KS.
Jack was born on November 3, 1929, in Wausau, WI. He was the son of Gertrude Preuss Skeels and Lawrence John Skeels. He grew up in the Wausau, WI area, and spent his time working 2 paper routes, to help support his family, and reading. A high school teacher ignited his love of learning, and through hard work and military service, Jack was able to attend the University of Wisconsin. While there, Jack attained a B.A. in Economics with High Honors in 1951, and a Ph.D in Economics in 1957. Jack served in the military from 1951-1953, and was stationed on the island of Guam. He completed his post-doctoral work at Wayne State University in the Detroit, MI area, where he compiled an oral history the development of Unionism in the Automobile Industry. Jack then began his long and rewarding teaching career at Northern Illinois University, which spanned from 1963 until 1997. During his time at NIU, along with a full teaching load, Jack published over 20 articles, and was director of numerous doctoral dissertations. While at NIU, Jack held the positions of Full Professor, Chairman of the Department of Economics, Associate Dean-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Associate Provost, and chaired various other committees. In 1974 Jack started an outside consulting business as a Forensic Economist, and provided expert testimony in wrongful death, injury, discrimination and divorce cases, as well as some economic evaluations of business and collective bargaining situations.
Upon his retirement in 1997, Jack moved to Lawrence, KS to live near his daughter, Jennifer Nelson. A short time later, Jack met the love of his life, Barbara Frick. They were married in June of 1999 and Barbara preceded him in death in October, 2004. Jack lived a rich life in Lawrence, which included volunteer work at the Lawrence Library and LINK. He enjoyed dining out with friends and his coffee spots. Jack’s most important role after his retirement was that of Father/Grandfather to Chase Waterman, and Grandfather to Ian, Tori, Chris and Lee Nelson. Jack was rarely absent from a school concert, open house, or sporting meet. He served as a valued advisor and mentor, and encouraged his children and grandchildren in whatever path they chose in life.
Jack is survived by his daughter Jennifer Nelson, son-in-law Tom Nelson and children Ian, Tori, Chris and Lee Nelson of Lawrence. He is also survived by Chase Waterman, wife Jennifer Waterman, and daughter Ava of Colorado Springs, CO. Also surviving is son Jack Allen Skeels and wife Michelle Herman, of Topanga, CA.
Donations may be made to Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen (LINK) in lieu of flowers.