Gary Skinner

Published 10:03 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

June 30, 1980-July 6, 2023


Gary Alan Skinner, age 43 years of Niles, Michigan; husband, father, son, brother, die-hard Cubs fan, and tattoo enthusiast died Thursday evening, July 6, 2023, at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana following a motor vehicle accident. His family is grateful for the efforts of the first responders and the emergency department staff.
He was born on June 30, 1980, in Berrien Center, Michigan to James L. Skinner and Marilyn L. (Banish) Skinner, and graduated from Niles High School. He has been a professional cook all of his life, working in several area restaurants including The Tavern on the westside at Lincoln and Brookwood where he made the best burgers in Niles. He also worked for many years at Pizza Transit beginning on Eleventh Street and then following them downtown, including covering a shift on the day before his accident.
Gary was well-known for his brightly colored tattoos which perfectly matched his bright personality, always ready to be a part of a conversation, and willing to fill-in quiet gaps as the designated talker. That personality also included dropping whatever he was doing to go and help anybody, offering encouragement, and quick to lift and carry anything. His positive personality likely helped him to be an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, traveling to Chicago when he could, but often enjoyed attending the South Bend Cubs games with family and friends. As an avid concertgoer, music was an important part of Gary’s life. He recently took his oldest daughter to her first concert, which he had looked forward to since the day she was born. It was his family – and especially his daughters – who were always the greatest priority in his life.
On May 12, 2007, he married his anchor, Sarah Marie Harpole. He and his “penguin” flew off to New Orleans, Louisiana to get married in Jackson Square Park, between the Cathedral and the Mississippi River; an elopement that didn’t really surprise anyone, and certainly raised no objections.
Surviving family includes his wife, Sarah Skinner and their daughters, Molly Araya Skinner and Addison Judith Skinner; Gary’s parents, Marilyn Burdue of Niles and Jim (& Vicky) Skinner of Niles; Sarah’s parents, Pastors Everett and Patricia Harpole of Saint Joseph, Michigan; Gary’s siblings Jonny (& Ryan) Skinner of South Bend, and Lisa Banish of Phoenix, Arizona; Sarah’s siblings, whom Gary considered his siblings as well, Laura (& Mike) Stover of Buchanan, Michigan, Jason (& Sharla) Harpole of Portage, Michigan, and Sarah Myles of Chicago, Illinois. He also leaves behind several nieces and nephews, and an army of friends.
A Celebration of Gary’s Life is pending, and will be announced on this webpage. Contributions in memory of Gary may be made to a scholarship fund for Molly and Addison, and details of that fund will also be announced here. Arrangements are being made at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Online condolences may be left at:¬†
Gary’s life feels as if it was too, too short, but he used his years well, always caring for everyone he met, being loved by all, and aptly described as “the realest person” you’ve ever met.
“My angel, my anchor, my star.”