When Vernon Kays retired from being County Clerk, Dad ran for the office against Vernon’s Chief Deputy Rosemary Azzaro. Rosemary won, even winning at least one Crystal Lake Coventry precinct in which she knocked on doors. Dad didn’t do any door-to-door campaigning.
Two years later he was back on the county board.
In the 1980’s, the county board was bold enough to announce potential sites for ten or so county airports. What a way to engender opposition.
Tom Smrt, the owner of Fox Valley Systems in Cary took offense. He raised English Shires sought of Marengo on Route 20 next to the Tollway. He created the McHenry County Chronicle, which was mailed to at least all who voted Republican regularly. Every month. Smrt’s attacks on the county board led to Dad’s allies winning all four seats that were up that year.
In the fall of 1987, his wife Eleanor was killed in a truck-car accident at Route 14 and Dean Street Road. It took over ten years after that for a traffic signal to be installed.
Dad and Mom had been scheduled to go up to Mayo the next April. Dad didn’t go.
The night the summer drought was broken by a severe thunderstorm Dad had a county board meeting.
On Country Club Road almost to Crystal Springs Road, he ran into a tree branch. He hit his chest on the steering wheel. That might not have been so bad, but when he plowed into the big tree branch there was a young man trying to move it from the highway. Dad’s bumper crushed the Good Samaritan’s leg between his bumper and that of the young man.
About a year later he developed lung cancer where his chest was bruised. He had smoked cigarettes, then, a pipe, but had stopped maybe eight years before the cancer showed up.
It would have been caught early had Dad kept the appointment at Mayo, but, after Mother’s death he skipped it.
He ended up being treated at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He and I lived with my sister Jan in a zip code in search of a town between Annapolis and Washington. The zip code was called Severn.
In December, Dr. Stevens would not release him when he had to leave in order to get back to McHenry County to vote for Ann Hughes for county board chairman. He didn’t think her opponent would be independent enough.
He signed himself out.
You see the photo of my wheeling him in for the crucial vote. Somehow he managed to retain his position as vice chairman, even though a deal had been cut to elect another man.
After Dad died in the summer of 1989, I executed his estate.
To do that I had to get his birth certificate.
To my surprise, I found that his middle name of “LeRoy” read “Leroy” on the birth certificate. Apparently he decided to capitalize the “R” at some point in his life. So, I’m not really a “junior” because my birth certificate reads “LeRoy.” I guess being a regular “Leroy” wasn’t fancy enough for him.
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Earlier articles in this ten-part series can be found in the links below:
Biography of Calvin L Skinner – Part 1 – Second Son, School Years
Biography of Calvin L. Skinner – Part 2 – College, Marriage, First Jobs
Biography of Cal Skinner, Sr. – Part 3 – First House, Elected President of the Easton, Maryland, Town Council
Biography of Cal Skinner, Sr. – Part 4 – Storm Sewer Grates, Miles River Yacht Club, Slot Machines, Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Biography of Cal Skinner, Sr. – Part 5 – Switching Parties, Moving to Salt Lake City, Middletown and Crystal Lake
Biography of Cal L Skinner – Part 6 – The Early Crystal Lake Days, Dipping Feet Slowly into Political Arena
Biography of Cal Skinner, Sr. – Part 7 – Running for County Auditor, Precinct Committeeman, Calling the Meeting that Led to McHenry County College
Biography of Cal Skinner – Part 8 – The Star Reporter, Daughter Ellen Bored in High School, Prohibited from Attending MCC Classes
Biography of Cal L Skinner – Part 9 – Responsible Republicans’ Slate, County Board Reapportionment
Biography of Cal Skinner, Sr. – Part 10 – Unsuccessful County Clerk Try, County Airport Fight, Wife’s Death