Catherine Skibbe

Fort Walton Beach, FL | Walton Sun

Catherine Skibbe

Heaven has gained a beautiful soul. Catherine Alice (Kay) Callahan Skibbe

Beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend passed away on October 16, 2021, in Miramar Beach, Florida.

Kay was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 5, 1919, to Catherine White

Callahan and Joseph Callahan.

Those who loved her most knew Kay as Mom, 'Mom-mom' or 'Mom-mom-mom'. She earned the title of Mom-mom when her first grandson was born, and she continued to own that title as she gained two more grandsons and, finally, a granddaughter. She held the title of Mom-mom for quite some time until she became a great grandmother to Dylan. When Dylan was old enough to start piecing together the family dynamics, he, logically, gave his great grandmother the name of 'Mom-mom-mom', which stuck, and is what her next great grandson and great granddaughter have always, lovingly referred to her as.

Kay lived the fullest life imaginable and accomplished more in her lifetime than most could accomplish in ten. Despite all of her accomplishments, victories, talents and incredible endeavors, she was exceptionally humble, never one to 'toot her own horn' or talk about her achievements unless being coaxed to do so. In one understated word, she was astonishing, and she lived a life to aspire to and celebrate.

Kay graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. While attending college, she met the love of her life, Arthur (Skip) Skibbe. While dating Skip throughout college, she attended the Military Ball with him, the Cadet Colonel, and was crowned Queen of the Military Ball. She and Skip were married on July 17, 1941 and raised five children together.

In 1968, Kay began working at Independence high school in Mint Hill, North Carolina as the secretary in the Guidance Office. She was loved by the students and staff alike, and to this day, decades after she retired from her post, people in the Charlotte area still recognize the 'Skibbe name in her children and grandchildren and ask if there is a connection, then tell stories about the wonderful experiences they had attending Independence under 'Mrs. Skibbe's' tutelage. So loved was she at the school that, one year, the students and staff alike chose to dedicate the yearbook to her. She passed her passion for education on to her son, Art, who was a professor at Appalachian State University, as well as to her daughter, Kathy, and her granddaughter, Courtney, who have both been proud teachers and leaders at schools just a few miles from where Kay made a lasting impression on so many young minds.

After working long and hard as a military wife, mother to five children, and 'school mom' to countless students, she and Skip, deservedly, retired to Miramar Beach, Florida. Not one to simply relax, Kay dove head first into the community and became an instant leader. An avid reader, she was a founding member of the Walton County Coastal Branch Library, where she volunteered for many years (as well as at the Destin Library) and helped inspire a love of reading in countless others. In addition to her pivotal role in helping to kick-start and support the local libraries, Kay was also a champion of the Arts, owning seasons' tickets to local theater groups until driving at night became too difficult. She was a determined member of "Save Our Beaches" so, as you admire our stunningly pristine white beaches, Kay is one of those you could thank for prohibiting the use of red clay south of Highway 98. She and Skip were presented the First American Legion Post Good Neighbor Award for their never wavering endeavors to improve the community. Kay was also a long-time volunteer at Caring and Sharing of South Walton and continued to volunteer there weekly until COVID forced her to slow down and self-quarantine.

Founding libraries, championing the arts and volunteering were still not enough to keep Kay busy. She had an endless curiosity and passion for learning, so she took classes each year through the Center for Lifelong Learning to discover, explore and perfect many things that had piqued her interest over the years. To name a few….Kay was a skilled writer and wrote poetry and short stories, some of which were published. Some of her published work was submitted under a male pseudonym, because it was harder to get published as a woman. She was a talented photographer and developed her own photos in a dark room she created in her home. She was also skilled at sewing, knitting, hand-smocking, painting, cooking (even publishing a few original recipes) and making polymer clay jewelry. Her hand-smocked children's clothing was sold from a shop in New York, and, when she was in her nineties, a few pieces of her polymer clay jewelry were sold from a boutique shop in Seaside, Florida. Every Christmas, she gifted the (many) women in her family and friends with a beautiful, unique, coveted, piece of polymer clay jewelry, which was always a highlight of the holiday for the fortunate recipients, and gifts that will be forever treasured. Kay was a faithful member of a meditation/book group for many years leading up to her death. The group was named in her honor, "Kay's Group" Kay, or, 'Mom-mom-mom' was a lot of things to a lot of people: She was a maker of jewelry, the champion of Mexican Dominoes, everyone's 'phone-a-friend' if they ever found themselves on a trivia show, the Jeopardy queen, the only person who could work any New York Times crossword puzzle in record time without breaking a sweat or referring to a Thesaurus or Dictionary, and the connoisseur of Rocky Road Ice Cream. She was always ready to share her quick wit, to keep us laughing. She was a proponent for all and was ahead of her time, even at 102. She even rode a motorcycle as a teenager and an ATV with her grandson in her 90's. She was a person who left you feeling enriched and like a better person just for having known her. You could not meet her without feeling her impact, which will be felt for generations to come. Kay was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Col. Arthur (Skip) Skibbe

He was the love of her life.

Kay is survived by her five children: Daughters, Kathy Williamson (Billy Williamson), Willee Skibbe, and Joyce Louro (Val Louro) Sons, Arthur Skibbe Jr. Ph.D (Jane Tate) and Robert Skibbe (Sondra Skibbe). Four grandchildren, Danny Williamson, Bobby Williamson (Leah Williamson), Ian Skibbe and Courtney Hopkins (Ricky Hopkins) Three great grand-children, Dylan Matthew Williamson, Benjamin Arthur Hopkins and Audrey Grace Hopkins.

In accordance with Kay's wishes, the family will gather for a private service.

Donations in her honor her can be sent to Caring and Sharing of South Walton or The Walton County Coastal Branch Library.

Posted online on November 23, 2021

Published in Walton Sun, Northwest Florida Daily News

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Fort Walton Beach, FL | Walton Sun

Catherine Skibbe

Catherine Skibbe

Heaven has gained a beautiful soul. Catherine Alice (Kay) Callahan Skibbe

Beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend passed away on October 16, 2021, in Miramar Beach, Florida.

Kay was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 5, 1919, to Catherine White

Callahan and Joseph Callahan.

Those who loved her most knew Kay as Mom, 'Mom-mom' or 'Mom-mom-mom'. She earned the title of Mom-mom when her first grandson was born, and she continued to own that title as she gained two more grandsons and, finally, a granddaughter. She held the title of Mom-mom for quite some time until she became a great grandmother to Dylan. When Dylan was old enough to start piecing together the family dynamics, he, logically, gave his great grandmother the name of 'Mom-mom-mom', which stuck, and is what her next great grandson and great granddaughter have always, lovingly referred to her as.

Kay lived the fullest life imaginable and accomplished more in her lifetime than most could accomplish in ten. Despite all of her accomplishments, victories, talents and incredible endeavors, she was exceptionally humble, never one to 'toot her own horn' or talk about her achievements unless being coaxed to do so. In one understated word, she was astonishing, and she lived a life to aspire to and celebrate.

Kay graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. While attending college, she met the love of her life, Arthur (Skip) Skibbe. While dating Skip throughout college, she attended the Military Ball with him, the Cadet Colonel, and was crowned Queen of the Military Ball. She and Skip were married on July 17, 1941 and raised five children together.

In 1968, Kay began working at Independence high school in Mint Hill, North Carolina as the secretary in the Guidance Office. She was loved by the students and staff alike, and to this day, decades after she retired from her post, people in the Charlotte area still recognize the 'Skibbe name in her children and grandchildren and ask if there is a connection, then tell stories about the wonderful experiences they had attending Independence under 'Mrs. Skibbe's' tutelage. So loved was she at the school that, one year, the students and staff alike chose to dedicate the yearbook to her. She passed her passion for education on to her son, Art, who was a professor at Appalachian State University, as well as to her daughter, Kathy, and her granddaughter, Courtney, who have both been proud teachers and leaders at schools just a few miles from where Kay made a lasting impression on so many young minds.

After working long and hard as a military wife, mother to five children, and 'school mom' to countless students, she and Skip, deservedly, retired to Miramar Beach, Florida. Not one to simply relax, Kay dove head first into the community and became an instant leader. An avid reader, she was a founding member of the Walton County Coastal Branch Library, where she volunteered for many years (as well as at the Destin Library) and helped inspire a love of reading in countless others. In addition to her pivotal role in helping to kick-start and support the local libraries, Kay was also a champion of the Arts, owning seasons' tickets to local theater groups until driving at night became too difficult. She was a determined member of "Save Our Beaches" so, as you admire our stunningly pristine white beaches, Kay is one of those you could thank for prohibiting the use of red clay south of Highway 98. She and Skip were presented the First American Legion Post Good Neighbor Award for their never wavering endeavors to improve the community. Kay was also a long-time volunteer at Caring and Sharing of South Walton and continued to volunteer there weekly until COVID forced her to slow down and self-quarantine.

Founding libraries, championing the arts and volunteering were still not enough to keep Kay busy. She had an endless curiosity and passion for learning, so she took classes each year through the Center for Lifelong Learning to discover, explore and perfect many things that had piqued her interest over the years. To name a few….Kay was a skilled writer and wrote poetry and short stories, some of which were published. Some of her published work was submitted under a male pseudonym, because it was harder to get published as a woman. She was a talented photographer and developed her own photos in a dark room she created in her home. She was also skilled at sewing, knitting, hand-smocking, painting, cooking (even publishing a few original recipes) and making polymer clay jewelry. Her hand-smocked children's clothing was sold from a shop in New York, and, when she was in her nineties, a few pieces of her polymer clay jewelry were sold from a boutique shop in Seaside, Florida. Every Christmas, she gifted the (many) women in her family and friends with a beautiful, unique, coveted, piece of polymer clay jewelry, which was always a highlight of the holiday for the fortunate recipients, and gifts that will be forever treasured. Kay was a faithful member of a meditation/book group for many years leading up to her death. The group was named in her honor, "Kay's Group" Kay, or, 'Mom-mom-mom' was a lot of things to a lot of people: She was a maker of jewelry, the champion of Mexican Dominoes, everyone's 'phone-a-friend' if they ever found themselves on a trivia show, the Jeopardy queen, the only person who could work any New York Times crossword puzzle in record time without breaking a sweat or referring to a Thesaurus or Dictionary, and the connoisseur of Rocky Road Ice Cream. She was always ready to share her quick wit, to keep us laughing. She was a proponent for all and was ahead of her time, even at 102. She even rode a motorcycle as a teenager and an ATV with her grandson in her 90's. She was a person who left you feeling enriched and like a better person just for having known her. You could not meet her without feeling her impact, which will be felt for generations to come. Kay was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Col. Arthur (Skip) Skibbe

He was the love of her life.

Kay is survived by her five children: Daughters, Kathy Williamson (Billy Williamson), Willee Skibbe, and Joyce Louro (Val Louro) Sons, Arthur Skibbe Jr. Ph.D (Jane Tate) and Robert Skibbe (Sondra Skibbe). Four grandchildren, Danny Williamson, Bobby Williamson (Leah Williamson), Ian Skibbe and Courtney Hopkins (Ricky Hopkins) Three great grand-children, Dylan Matthew Williamson, Benjamin Arthur Hopkins and Audrey Grace Hopkins.

In accordance with Kay's wishes, the family will gather for a private service.

Donations in her honor her can be sent to Caring and Sharing of South Walton or The Walton County Coastal Branch Library.

Posted online on November 23, 2021

Published in Walton Sun, Northwest Florida Daily News