The Kelly Skiles Memorial Scholarship

Submit by Linda Skiles, wife of Kelly Skiles

Kelly R Skiles was born August 15, 1957 in Cloquet, MN.  He moved to southeast Wisconsin with his parents and seven siblings when he was five years old and moved out on his own at the age of sixteen.  Acquaintances since childhood, Kelly and I married in 1976.  Together, we raised a family of three wonderful boys and, in the prime of life, were enjoying our three beautiful grandchildren.   A twenty nine year ComEd employee, Kelly was looking forward to retirement  in 2012 when on March 29, 2011, working as an upgraded crew leader,  he was struck in the head by a piece of the pole which fell from the bucket while the crew was replacing utility poles in Crystal Lake.  Rescue crews were unable to revive him.

Kelly was a self made man, very dedicated to providing for the welfare of his family.  Having left high school before graduating, he was determined to secure a high school diploma.  Shortly after we were married he took our last $300, or so I thought, to register for the classes he needed through a correspondence course in order to accomplish that goal.   This would prove very beneficial when in 1982 he was encouraged to apply for a job with ComEd (a high school diploma was a requirement of employment).  He was able to further his education while working on the job with ComEd to achieve better opportunities within the company.
In December of 1982, Kelly began work at the Waukegan Power Station.  He worked rotating shifts with rotating weekends which afforded very little time for his family.  In 1984, when an opening became available in the line department he jumped at the chance to have a schedule of straight days and weekends off.  He attended line school in Northbrook and upon completion was assigned to Crystal Lake. 

Over the course of his career he had the opportunity to serve as a demonstrator at the Basic Line School in Waukegan and the three-phase line school in Rockford.  A large number of his students attended the funeral and shared their stories of him as a demonstrator.  It was very heartwarming to hear how appreciative they were for the training he provided and the friendships he had made.  Too often in life, we take for granted the things our loved ones do and may never know the impact they make on someone else throughout the course of their day.

He loved the work he performed, was proud of his accomplishments and enjoyed life to the fullest.  

Kelly was a member of the Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe, Local 15 IBEW and the Fox River Men's Pool League.  He had a love for fast cars and had achieved his ultimate dream of owning a corvette.

He was a very giving person and would be honored to know that a scholarship in his name will help a young individual achieve their hopes and dreams.  August 15, 2012 marks the day Kelly had planned to retire.  I am honored to have made contact with the From Tragedy to Triumph Foundation on this same day and am grateful to be able to participate in a program where his memory will be kept alive.

To read about more of our memorial scholarship tributes, please click here.