Dr. Harlow “Hal” Skinner died on Jan. 17, 2009, in his hometown of Yakima, Wash.
Hal was born in Yakima in 1920 and lived there until 1938. At Amherst, he was a member of the Lord Jeff Club, the Speakers Club, the Outing Club and the Orchestra.
Following graduation, Hal obtained his M.D. degree at Western Reserve Univ. Medical School in 1945. He spent a year of internship and then two years in the U.S. Army. When he was released from active duty, he stayed in the U.S. Army Reserve and retired with the rank of colonel in 1984.
After five years of residency training, Hal was in private practice as a board certified surgeon from 1953 to 1976. He then became a medical advisor to the State of Washington in Olympia for 11 years, first for the Department of Social and Health Services and then for the Department of Labor and Industries.
Back in Yakima after retirement from his State work, Hal kept busy as historian for the Washington State Chapter, American College of Surgeons and as a member of the Washington State Medical Disciplinary Board. He was also active in many professional societies and community organizations but was most interested in Rotary International. He was a past president of the Yakima Club and had a 50-year record of perfect meeting attendance.
Hal’s second marriage in 1968 was to Mary Rivera, nearly 25 years his junior, whose parents were Mexican migrant workers. After years of volunteer service in various organizations, she was elected to the Washington State Legislature in 1994 where she continued to serve until she died from cancer less than three weeks after Hal’s death. During this 14-year period, Hal enjoyed the transition from “Dr. Skinner and his wife Mary” to “Representative Skinner and her husband Hal.”
—Ted Heisler ’42