By: Michael Campbell, News Editor
PRINCE GEORGE – The community of Prince George mourns the loss of one it’s own as longtime board supervisor Jerry Skalsky passed away last Wednesday afternoon after succumbing to a sudden illness at the age of 74.
Skalsky was in the midst of serving his 18th year on the Prince George Board of Supervisors at the time of his death, having just attended the county’s regular board meeting the night before his passing.
The sudden death of the beloved county representative and friend to so many in the Prince George area was hard for many to take, including those who served on the Board of Supervisors with Skalsky, such as Chairman Bill Robertson.
“This is a hard day for the county,” the chairman remarked with some audible emotion in his voice, reeling from the loss of someone he considered a dear friend and mentor.
“Jerry has served as chairman and vice-chairman for many years here,” he continued. “He was a mentor to me when I came on [the Board of Supervisors] because he had already been here for four years.”
“We grew to be very good friends and this is just a sad day for me,” Robertson closed.
Besides serving as a supervisor since November 1999, Skalsky’s life was rooted deeply in Prince George County, since his birth in February of 1943.
Being born and raised on a farm in the county gave Skalsky an intimate knowledge of the rural community he would one day serve as representative of on the county board.
Skalsky pursued higher education, attending Richard Bland College in the county before heading to private liberal arts college Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee where he received his Bachelor of Science degree. He would later study at Virginia State and Chapman University earning a Master’s degree in counseling.
After years of schooling, he would return to school as a teacher, leading classes for a decade along with working as a high school and middle school counselor and attendance officer for 16 years before retiring in 2006.
Skalsky also worked in juvenile probation for the court for just over 10 years.
During that time, Skalsky wedded Brenda Sober in 1961, a marriage that endured for over 50 years, with the couple raising four children who now have four children of their own.
The legacy of Skalsky will endure throughout Prince George after Skalsky’s passing thanks to his work to found the Prince George Volunteer Rescue Squad, something he felt passionate about and remained involved in for 40 years.
An abbreviated resume from Skalsky provided by the county highlights the supervisor’s future plans, which mentioned “continued community involvement.” Those words translated to action when looking at his service to various board and committees.
Over the years, Skalsky served on a number of different boards, including the Comprehensive Services Board, Friends of the Lower Appomattox River, Central Virginia Social Services, and Super Kids ministries.
Skalsky was also an active member of his local church, teaching classes while also going on foreign and domestic missions to help those in need with fellow parishioners.
As news of Skalsky’s death circulated through the community, people within and beyond Prince George’s borders reflected on the impact the 74-year-old had on their life, always known to have a smile and a kind word for anyone he met.
“I remember the impact he made with everybody around him and the conversations we had,” shared William Collins. “He was a very intelligent man that was always big on education.”
“He was such a kind, generous and sincere man,” Pamela Browder-Wallace said. “I never saw or talked to him when he didn’t have a smile on his face or something kind to say.”
Known as an avid supporter of education, it seemed fitting that his funeral service Monday was held inside the walls of Prince George High School, where dozens turned out to pay their final respects to a man loved by people across the county and the region.
Following Monday’s service, Skalsky was buried in a private service attended by family and friends.
At what would be his final Board of Supervisors meeting, Skalsky offered words of wisdom for the next generation of Prince George men and women who will be graduating from high school and higher education institutions over the course of the next few weeks.
“We have a lot of young people who may think they are finishing something when, in reality, they are starting a new phase of their lives,” he said. “I just ask God’s blessing on them as they start this new phase.”
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Brenda Sober Skalsky; four children, Deb Skalsky, J.J. Skalsky and wife, Tammy, Dr. Julie Skalsky Brown and husband, Dr. David Brown and Heidi Skalsky; four grandchildren, Forrest, Joshua, Haley and Grace; one sister, Evelyn S. Hanzlik and husband, Ed; a brother, Charles Skalsky and wife, JoAnn; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.