Warren Skillings Sr.

BATH — The Bath community will come together Thursday to celebrate the life of a local leader.

Former City Councilor and local volunteer Warren Skillings Sr. died Sept. 6. at 85.

Skillings was born in Scarborough in 1933 to Winfield and Ellen Skillings. In the midst of the Great Depression, he grew up without any luxuries.

“He grew up with nothing. He was one of 10 kids,” said his son, Warren Skillings Jr., who described his father growing up on just one meal a day and wearing one pair of shoes. “You know the story. He’s not the only one.”

“He wasn’t ashamed of his lower class upbringing. He was proud of it. I think it drove him,” he added. “He had kind of a desire to help youth and other people in the community who maybe weren’t as fortunate as other folks.”

OBITUARY: WARREN SKILLINGS SR.

Skillings dropped out of high school when he was 17 to enlist in the U.S. Navy. During two tours in the Korean War, he served on two Bath-built ships — the USS Fiske and the USS Noa.

“He said it wasn’t a hard decision,” said Skillings Jr. “He felt it was his duty and an honor to protect his country. When he got back, I think that desire to serve carried into the community.”

After completing his tours, Skillings returned to Maine and earned his GED.

Settling in Bath, Skillings went on to work at the company that built the ships on which he served. Starting off in the trades, he moved over to the purchasing department where he made a name for himself and was eventually promoted to project manager. Former BIW President Bill Haggett remembered Skillings as a dedicated employee over his 37-year career with the shipyard.

“He was an excellent employee of the company,” said Haggett. “He was a very capable manager involved in part of the shipbuilding programs, and one of the guys who helped move Bath Iron Works into the kind of shipbuilding operation that it is today.”

Haggett initially met Skilling on the Bath City Council, when his brief four-year stint on the council overlapped with Skilling’s first term.

“Warren was a very young guy and was actively involved,” said Haggett. “He was very pro the community, and he was a particularly strong supporter of education and athletics.”

Skillings was first elected to the council in 1966 and served two terms.

Skillings’ involvement in the community wasn’t limited to the city council. Just four years after arriving in Bath, Skillings was named president of the Bath Chamber of Commerce, a position he held for five years. From 1969 to 1973, he served on the Bath Board of Education where he was actively involved in the creation of the Vocational Programs, as well as the consolidation of the Dike Newell and Fisher Mitchell schools.

Skillings also was active in the local sports community. For a brief period in the 1970s he served as director of the Bath YMCA’s youth activities. He served as a coach for several sports teams, though he is best known for his work with the Bath Little League. Starting in 1967, he served as president of the Bath Little League for more than 10 years, concurrently serving as the state director of the program at the time.

In his later years, Skillings moved to Woolwich where he continued his community involvement by serving on the Agricultural Forest Resources and Road Committees.

Skillings is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary, as well as their three children and several grandchildren.

“In his private life, he set an example as a tremendous family guy, and he was a very good citizen of Bath,” said Haggett. “What an outstanding person.”

The community is invited to remember Skillings and share memories at a Celebration of Life at the Bath Country Club this Thursday at 5 p.m. There will be a brief service followed by sharing memories, concluding with a reception.

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