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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 

Farewell to our friend ...

Cheryl Skinner, a reporter for the Fort Bend Star passed away on April 21, 2010 after a seven month battle with oral cancer. But she did not die, I am her daughter and she was my best friend. I am here to write her farewell to the many colleagues, friends, and readers in the Fort Bend County communities she loved so much. I know she would like her story shared with you.

Mom began working in 1978 with Beverly Carter and I can only say that friendship saw many emotions develop as well as a long-term partnership. Mom loved her and loved working with her and everyone with the Star. She loved the Fort Bend County community and lived there for a large majority of her life. She and my Dad Steve Skinner, who was a law enforcement officer in Fort Bend County for many years, lived in the Sugar Land area.

We went to school and grew up there with Mom actively involved in reporting the politics of what was then considered a “small community.” We watched our mother go from an inexperienced housewife to a well-rounded and self taught, talented reporter. She even did a little law enforcing herself, becoming a reserve deputy for Fort Bend County Precinct 3 Constable Office--pregnant with our brother. She made many friends and a few enemies, covered many events for the paper, and wouldn’t have had it any other way. Even as young children we knew she was special.

“She never said never and it got her to the top of the line when it came to her reporting skills. I know she was my biggest inspiration in becoming a law enforcement officer in the years that would follow because even though I was a girl and only 4'9.5", I could do anything I felt passionate about. I followed her lead and did what I wanted despite the doubts of many. My sister and brother went on to professional careers as well, and I know it was because of her that they felt the determination to do what they desired.

Mom was challenged with many things throughout her life but she never gave up even when her physical life was coming to its end. She just kept on going until the very last breath, with a dignity that the cancer could not have. As a matter of fact, the news of her passing was very surprising to many because she never let on that she was ill despite the fact the cancer took her voice.

She did not let it take her mind, and she continued to work until just a few weeks before the Lord called her home. Mom called me her “voice” during that time and it was an honor to become that for her. When her voice failed her; the pen and paper became her real voice, just as it has always been. I will never forget our time writing to each other in the many notebooks she would write in daily. She shared so much of herself with us.

I think it is eloquent that she continued her passion for writing despite the absence of sound. Her voice on paper was just as loud as if she were shouting every word she wrote.

The peace that we feel now that she has moved on is hard to describe, but I know that it was her approach to the journey that helped us move on with her. She was an amazing woman, but now she is an amazing spirit that lives on and guides every key stoke of this story. She will live on in everything we do. We can’t see her with our eyes anymore but we can with our hearts.

She was a tough gal and the cancer did not win. I think Mom would like to think that she killed the cancer; the cancer did not kill her. I think she is right.

If she could, she would tell all of you “Don’t be sad for me cause S*it Happens!!!” She’d also say “Thanks Fort Bend County for lending me an ear for 30 plus years. It was my joy to be there that long.”

She loved hard, worked hard, and passed on fighting--never regretting a thing. God has got His hands full for sure. She is covering breaking news in Heaven now and we were lucky to have her in our lives.

An account has been established to help her husband, Steve Skinner, pay for the medical bills accumulated by her long term illness. Contributions can be made to Citizens State Bank, PO Box 518, Somerville, Texas 77879 to Steve “S.L” Skinner or may be sent to 605 Parkview Lane, Somerville, Texas 77879 to Steve Skinner.

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Contact skinnerc1@tconline.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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