John Oliver Skiles

Saturday, April 23, 2011

John Oliver Skiles, 85, a resident of Fort Scott, Kan., died Friday, April 22, 2011, at his home. He was born Jan. 12, 1926, in Windom, Minn., the second of seven children born to Martin L. and Lucille Larimier Skiles. He attended Pine Grove School near Willow Springs, Mo., and at Devon, Kan. In 1940, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and was stationed at Grand Junction where he helped build roads to Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument.

During that time, he endured three mastoid operations at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, and a bout of spinal meningitis, which left him with profound hearing loss and epilepsy. In 1946, he graduated from the Academy of Horology in Denver. He worked as a master watchmaker for many years, until his health forced him to retire.

Survivors include his siblings, Martin Skiles Jr., Roundup, Mont., Lydia Beck, Corning, Kan., Bruce Skiles, Arkansas City, Kan., Leone Harries, Ozawkie, Kan., and Travis Skiles, Wichita, Kan. Also surviving are numerous nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his younger brother, Bing Skiles, at Orleans, Calif., in February of 1983; and an infant sister, in February of 1931 in Eads, Colo.

The Rev. Chuck Russell will conduct funeral services at 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 27, at the Cheney Witt Memorial Chapel. Burial will follow in the Centerville Cemetery near Devon, Kan. Services are under the direction of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, Fort Scott.

Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at