Edice Laura (Gale) Skalski, "Skip", 87, passed peacefully on Sunday, April 26, 2020, at home surrounded by family. Born August 12, 1932, in Greenfield, MA, she was the daughter of Lawrence and Edice (Eastman) Gale.
She grew up in Bernardston, one of seven children, she shared many stories of hard work and play on the family farm with her brother Johnnie, her buddy. Given the nickname of Skippy as a very young girl, a storyteller by the name of Old Joe had this to say about her in his newspaper column "Musings of a Travelling Man"; "Skippy is a precocious little lady whose independence is her outstanding attraction. Like Abe Lincoln, she has developed or naturally acquired a flair for storytelling." She rode her horse, Ranger, all over Bernardston before interstate 91 went through her back yard. She even rode him to school at Power's Institute, turning him out into a pasture behind the school. She was a star basketball player on the school's team. She developed and maintained lifelong friendships with classmates Caroline Forbes, Beverly Pollard, Steffie Stachelek, Betty Damon, and Polly Shores. After graduation, they went on a cross country trip together. She had many, many fond memories of her girlfriends.
She married Frederick Skalski, of South Deerfield, in 1953, they had five children together and spent their early years living in Greenfield before building a beautiful home in West Deerfield from the plans she found in a Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. This home is where she taught her children the lifelong habits of eating healthy foods, lessons that her children are forever grateful for. Many memories abound of trips to local food co-ops and lining up to take daily vitamins.
Just out of school she worked for the telephone company in Greenfield as a switchboard operator. After raising her children she worked for Crocker Communications in Greenfield, and then as the voice on the switchboard at Franklin Medical Center.
Skip had a great appreciation for antiques, and she collected them throughout the years. All of her children's homes are adorned with treasures she found for them. She was often seen at auctions, tag sales, and flea markets. She was an avid reader. She could converse about many varied subjects. She especially loved Zane Grey novels about horses, cowboys, and the west. She enjoyed listening to music by Jim Reeves and Marty Robbins. She had great admiration for American Indians. She loved Christmas. She followed the news of the world and politics. She was greatly dismayed by the tone and actions of the current administration.
She loved watching her grandsons Seth and Kade play baseball and football. She was their biggest fan and she very rarely missed a game. She was extremely proud of her grandchildren's many accomplishments and seeing her great-grandchildren gave her immense joy.
In recent years she volunteered her time at the Hospice Shop of the Fisher Home in Amherst, and Cancer Connection in Northampton.
She was very grateful for the years-long support of her friend Diane Kurinsky.
She was blessed to spend time with caregivers Caitlin Bukolsky and her daughter Kali, Kathy Belanger, Laura Patenaude, Becky Holloway, and Marcia Hayes.
She is predeceased by her infant daughter Kathleen, siblings Katherine (Kitty), Ruth, Shirley, Kenneth, Johnnie, and Roger.
Survivors include two daughters, Gina Rogers (Chet) of Shelburne Falls, Kristin Gewanter (Brett) of Deerfield, and two sons, Jody Skalski (Angie Amidon) of Deerfield and Mike Skalski (Joelle Faure) of Ashfield. Ten grandchildren; Lucas Williams (Nicole Lavin) of Deerfield, Adam Williams (Erin Maclachlan) of Deerfield, Jesslyn DeLuca (Chad) of Charlton, NY, Sean Skalski (Sara) of Pensacola Fl, Troy Skalski of Fairfax, Virginia, Jacob Skalski of Greenfield, Justin Skalski of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Barbara Skalski of Bernardston, Kade and Seth Gewanter of Deerfield. Seven great-grandchildren; Ulla, Fischer, Charlotte, and Sage Williams, Aven, Calla, and Ellie DeLuca.
Burial will be private. A gathering to celebrate her life will be held at a later date. Donations in her name may be made to Cancer Connection of Northampton or Hospice Shop of the Fisher Home.
She is loved very much and will be greatly missed.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Kostanski Funeral Home. For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com
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