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Eulalia Ardeth Skinner (known to many friends as simply “Skinner”) was born in Sterling, CO, on November 28, 1930, to parents Ronald and Gertrude (Hoaglund) Skinner. She passed away on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at Vista Mesa Assisted Living in Cortez, CO at the age of 89.
The family moved to Grand Junction, CO, and Eulalia grew up and attended school there. She received her B.A. in Education from Western State College in Gunnison, CO. After teaching one year in Iowa and deciding she didn’t like the long, cold winters, Eulalia accepted a teaching job in Cortez, CO, where she remained. Known to her students as Miss Skinner, she taught English and coached girls sports for 40 years. When Miss Skinner arrived in Cortez in 1954, there were no competitive sports programs for girls. A full 18 years ahead of Title IX requirements, she organized basketball and volleyball competitions for girls from many Four Corners area schools. Miss Skinner coached generations of young women in basketball, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics and track and field. In 2002, Eulalia Skinner was inducted into the Colorado High School Activities Association Hall of Fame in recognition of her pioneering and longtime work with girls sports in the state. That same year, she was named to the Colorado Volleyball Officials Hall of Fame. Having Miss Skinner as a teacher or coach is an experience shared by multiple generations of Cortez High School students. Many former students have “Skinner stories” about being a student of Miss Skinner. She was recognized and remembered every time she ventured out and about Cortez. The community loved seeing her drive around town in her beautifully restored Model-A car, which was also a fixture in local parades.
Eulalia was very active in First United Methodist Church as a Church Council leader and officer in the United Methodist Women. She traveled throughout the Rocky Mountain area representing First UMC of Cortez at larger church events and conferences. She was a Certified Lay Speaker, leading in worship and other public church settings.
As a hobby, Eulalia worked on learning to write and speak Swedish and Norwegian. This was her family’s background and she delighted in her trips and correspondence with her Scandinavian relatives. Skinner’s sense of humor is legendary, finding joy and laughter in every situation. She was also prolific gardener.
Eulalia Skinner is survived by her lifelong friend Lucy Hadley; her nephews, Michael and Matthew Skinner and their families; and countless friends and former students.
Gifts in memory of Eulalia Skinner may be sent to First United Methodist Church of Cortez, PO Box 1016, Cortez, CO 81321
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