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Joseph Harold Skinner

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Joseph Harold Skinner

We are saddened to announce the passing of Joseph H. Skinner, beloved father and avid outdoorsman, who passed away suddenly at home on June 10, 2019.

Joe, a Colorado native, was happiest when he was outdoors and was intimately acquainted with the hunting, fishing, and hiking spots all over western Colorado and the surrounding states. He lived most of his life in Cedaredge and Grand Junction. Joe celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary June 7 with his wife, Linda, and was a dedicated and loving father to his children Amber, Jessica, and Tobias, granddaughter Raina, and sons-in-law Himanshu Sharma and Denis Jozefson.

Born in Denver, Colo., on March 25, 1948, Joe was raised by his mother, a registered nurse, and his father, the executive administrator for the Boy Scouts in Colorado. His father instigated the first Boy Scout Jamboree and developed Camp Tahoma in Ward, Colo. In his words, Joe was "born to fish" and as soon as he could walk, his father cultivated in Joe a love for hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking.

After his father's retirement and while he was in middle school, Joe moved to Cedaredge, Colo., where he immersed himself in the outdoors, exploring the streams, lakes, and wilderness throughout and around the Grand Mesa. He graduated from Cedaredge High School in 1966, lettering in four sports, before attending the University of Colorado in Boulder. While a student at CU, Joe met his wife, Linda, when he noticed the lovely coed wearing hiking boots in class and figured they might have a lot in common.

Following his undergraduate studies, Joe worked as a juvenile probation officer for Colorado in Grand Junction, which inspired a keen interest in the law. In 1976, he earned his law degree at University of Colorado.

After obtaining his juris doctorate and passing the Colorado bar, Joe worked for the Mesa County District Attorney's office as a trial deputy before opening a private practice. Throughout his career, Joe focused on land use and zoning issues, and water policy issues. In 1993, he left private law to ultimately manage the trust and financial services departments for Central Bank, which merged with Norwest to become Wells Fargo bank in Grand Junction. When he retired from Wells Fargo in 2005, he was managing all Private Client Services for the Western Slope. After his retirement from Wells Fargo, he re-entered private law practice with James Robb. Most recently, Joe focused on Estate, Trust and Probate matters, serving of counsel for Dufford Waldeck Milburn and Krohn.

Joe was a certified mediator and dedicated many hours pro bono to public service and community betterment, including serving as a soccer coach for all three of his children. He was recognized for these acts of community service by the local Chamber of Commerce, which named him Citizen of the Year in 2008. In his later years, he also taught business law at Colorado Mesa University, served as a Trustee for the University, and became a co-columnist with his wife for eight years for the Grand Junction Free Press. With his dog, Ziva, a certified therapy dog, he visited many Grand Junction elder care centers. Joe loved story telling and creative writing, recently finishing a book about his life-long love affair with the Gunnison Gorge. Most mornings he could be found practicing Tai Chi religiously. He loved to travel and had caught fish on three continents. On the eve of his death, he and Linda made travel arrangements for their next fishing trips in Michigan and Wisconsin. Instead, he has gone on to fish the waters of the universe.

He believed deeply in the importance of family, nature, community, education, and equality. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to the Eureka Math and Science Center, Colorado Riverfront Commission, Riverside Education Center, Colorado West Land Trust, or the Western Colorado Writers' Forum.

A celebration of Joe's life well lived will take place on Monday, June 24, at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1425 5th Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501.

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