Elizabeth Skinner

Obituary of Elizabeth B. Skinner

Herkimer Elizabeth "Liz" Barrell Skinner, 81, of Herkimer, passed away peacefully on April 20, 2021 at Valley Health Services in Herkimer. Liz was born on October 7, 1939 in Providence RI, daughter of Joseph and Beth (Hawkey) Barrell. Liz began her teaching career in Frankfort, transferred to Ilion High School as a librarian, taught English and General Science while earning her M.Ed. from Syracuse University, then taught Regents Earth Science before retiring after more than 30 years as an educator. Beloved by her students, she supported them in everything from remedial reading to coaching Girls Cross Country to starting the Future Bikers of America organization with some Ilion students. She brought her deep love of geology to all she met, taking students on fossil hunts throughout the Mohawk Valley and never returning from a trip without a new rock. She read road cuts like great literature. To take a walk with Liz was to learn that everything in nature had a name, a history, a purpose. For her, there was no contradiction between science and religion––it was all God’s creation. In 1990 in Lewisburg, PA, she was united in marriage to James Skinner, with whom she shared over 30 years of loving companionship. Liz was a person of many talents and known throughout the northeast for her sewing and repair business, “Liz’s Leather.” She and her husband were regulars at regional motorcycle events, socializing while repairing leather garments and sewing patches onto jackets. She was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Herkimer, where she and her husband helped prepare and serve community meals for those in need. Liz is survived by her loving husband Jim, and her children: Kirsten "Bee" Tolman, Stacia Tolman, Ebenezer Tolman, Sorche Fairbank, Alex Fairbank, and Jose Keil. She is predeceased by her brother Renn Tolman and sister Sarah Webb Barrell. Her family wishes to thank the staff at Valley Health Services for their unceasing care and compassion given during her stay. In keeping with Liz's wishes, there are no public services at this time, services will be planned when weather improves and COVID restriction are eased. Friends and family are asked to please consider donation in Liz's memory to either Catholic Charities 61 West St. Ilion, NY 13357 or Christ Episcopal Church Community Outreach Dinner 300 N. Main St. Herkimer, NY 13350. Arrangements are with the Whiter-Hendrix Funeral Home, 100 Otsego St., Ilion, NY. To send an online condolence please go to www.whiter-hendrix.com.
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