SKEIRIK, KALEEL

SKEIRIK, Kaleel Charles "Kal," 102, died on August 15, 2019, at Lakewood Manor in Richmond, Va. Although old by number, he never "got" old. Born May 21, 1917, in Lawrence, Mass., to Lebanese parents, his Methodist minister father (Habeeb) and mother (Adma) raised him with a deep belief in a loving God. At Syracuse University (1939, B.A. Public Administration), he lettered as a cross country runner and miler. He served in the 501st Armored Field Artillery, 14th Armored Division in Germany (1942-1945) as an Army technical Sergeant in Military Intelligence. He was awarded a Bronze Star. Post war, he assisted in establishing new local governments free from Nazi control. In his late 80s, he self-published his war memoirs and began speaking to students and organizations to convey his passion for the importance of faith, freedom and democratic government. Post honorable discharge, Kal moved to Washington, D.C, assisting with the Marshall Plan, focusing on Luxemburg, at the State Department. Joining Foundry United Methodist Church, he met, and married on June 17, 1950, the love of his life, Kathryn Newcome. Driven to make a difference, he spent most of his 35 years with the U.S. Federal government as an economist at the Federal Trade Commission and Small Business Administration. During his tenure he was proud to be an expert witness both at antitrust trials as well as before U.S. Congressional Committees on small business matters. His many research studies and reports included the coffee industry, outdoor recreation and tourism, short-line railroads and franchising. Several universities used his outdoor recreaction report for many years as a primary text. Just days before falling ill, he finished a book detailing his career. His deep and abiding faith in God pervaded every part of his life. In his 90s, he edited and self-published his father's book detailing his immigration, assimilation and path to Methodist ministry. A lifelong Methodist, he was an active church member at Mt. Olivet Methodist Church, Arlington, Va., and was a longtime active member of Bon Air (Va.) United Methodist Church, where he ushered and served with Methodist Men. A believer in community service, he served as Chairman of Arlington's Boy Scout Troup 103, President of the Arlington Powhatan Swimming Club and President of the Oyster Bay Community Association, Chincoteague, Va. Counting himself as among the first to "jog" for exercise (1940s), he later loved working out at the gym, and with his wife enjoyed bird watching, traveling, visiting the ocean and national parks, reading and current events, reading two newspapers every day. At age 100, his beloved friend, Denny Arner arranged for Kal to throw out the first pitch (Richmond Squirrels), a highlight of his life and for which he practiced pitching for weeks to ensure a long enough pitch. He was wise and generous with imparting his wisdom to family and friends. When asked how he had lived in good health for so long, he named four reasons: his love for his wife, his lifelong pursuit of exercise (boxing until several weeks ago), his deep and abiding faith in God and daily meditation which he began in Germany to deal with the stress of war. He faced his short illness with the same courage and grace with which he conducted his entire life. Kal is survived by his wife, Kathryn "Kitty"; his children, Kaleel Charles Skeirik Jr. (Nancy) of Cincinnati, Ohio and Karen Skeirik Elliott (Tom) of Richmond, Va.; Jeanette Macht, sister, of Warminster, Pa.; and grandchildren, Audrey Bertaux-Skeirik, Nina (Bertaux-Skeirik) Steele, Lucas Bertaux-Skeirik and Jennifer Elliott. The family wishes to thank the loving care provided by the nurses and aides at Lakewood's Health Care. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Bon Air United Methodist Church or a charity of your choice. His Celebration of Life service will be held Saturday, August 24, 2019, 2 p.m. at Bon Air United Methodist Church, 1645 Buford Rd., Richmond, Va. 23235.

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