William Pailin Skinner Jr. (1929-2013)

William Pailin Skinner, Jr., age 83, passed away peacefully at his home on Feb 10th surrounded by his family. He was born on July 31, 1929 in his family home on Church Street in Elizabeth City, NC, the fourth child of Julia Wood Skinner and William Pailin Skinner.

At Elizabeth City High School, Bill was an Eagle Scout and student body president. He spent his last year of high school at Virginia Episcopal School because the high schools across North Carolina were just being required to add a twelfth grade and his parents thought he needed twelfth grade before setting off to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There he was a member of Zeta Psi fraternity and NROTC where he earned an Ensign commission in the United States Naval Reserve. After graduating from Chapel Hill in 1951, he served In the Navy in the Mediterranean and Caribbean during the Korean War. Bill particularly enjoyed his deployment to Italy where he turned an interest in opera into a lifelong passion after hearing the young Renata Tebaldi sing years before she became known in the United States.

In 1953 Bill returned to Chapel Hill to attend law school. There he met Harriet Morgan from Johnson City TN who would become his wife and the mother of his two children. After law school he worked at the National Bank of Commerce in Norfolk, Virginia before returning to North Carolina. Making his home in Raleigh, he practiced law for over 50 years with Howard Manning and Charlie Fulton at Manning Fulton and Skinner. He was a member of the Carolina Country Club, the Assembly Club and a longtime member of Christ Church where he served on the Vestry and as Senior Warden. Bill was a kind, generous and loving son, brother, husband, father and grandfather. He adored opera, the symphony, Tarheel sports and his family cottage in Nags Head, NC.

Bill was predeceased by his parents, his oldest sister Julia Wood Skinner and his first wife Harriet Morgan Skinner. He is survived by his wife Jennette Campbell Herbert Skinner; his sister Jessie Skinner Gaither; his brother Thomas Gregory Skinner, IV and his wife Alice; his son William Pailin Skinner, III and his wife Jolie; his daughter Harriet McLeod Skinner; his grandchildren Laura McLeod Skinner and John Pailin Skinner and his step-daughters Catherine Deming Herbert and Carlyle Herbert Dorroh.

The family extends special thanks to the people of the Cancer Center of NC, Caring Senior Services and Hospice of Wake County for their loving care and compassion during his final illness. The funeral service was held at Christ Church on Saturday February 16th at 11:00 am. 

Previous article as published in Business North Carolina

By: Linda C. Ray

William Pailin Skinner, Jr. was born July 31, 1929 in the Skinner family home in Elizabeth City. Having babies was not discussed in those days so his three older siblings were surprised to find a baby brother when they returned home from camp that year. During his childhood, he did get a taste of the mountains when he attended Camp Sequoyah but his great love was always the beach. His father built a cottage at Nags Head in 1933 when the only way to reach the Outer Banks was by ferry. The Skinner family spent entire summers there from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Bill now owns the cottage and has maintained it almost in the same condition as when it was built but with the addition of electricity and hot water.

Bill attended school in Elizabeth City, worked his way up through Boy Scout activities to become an Eagle Scout, and sang in the choir at Christ Episcopal Church. He was elected president of the student body at Elizabeth City High School in eleventh grade, the final year of high school available at that time. The twelfth grade was added the year he would have gone, but his father was afraid it would be a repeat of the eleventh and sent him to Virginia Episcopal School for his last year of high school. Bill credits VES with teaching him how to study so he could go on to be a successful student at Chapel Hill, participate in the NROTC program and enjoy fraternity life as a member of Zeta Psi. At Chapel Hill, he earned both his degree and a commission as ensign in the United States Naval Reserve. After graduation he went on active duty during the “Korean Police Action,” serving in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. He particularly enjoyed his deployment to Italy where he turned an interest in opera into a lifetime passion after hearing the young Renata Tebaldi sing years before she became known in the United States.

By 1953, Bill was back at Chapel Hill in Law School. He studied hard and worked on the Law Review for his last two years. It was during this time at law school that he met Harriet Morgan, a journalism student. They were married several days after learning he had passed the North Carolina bar exam and moved to Norfolk where Bill worked for the National Bank of Commerce. Much as he liked Virginia, Bill’s heart always belonged to North Carolina so he jumped at the chance to join Charles Fulton and Howard Manning to practice law in Raleigh. Bill and Harriett had a happy 46 years of marriage and two wonderful children, William P. Skinner III and Harriet McLeod Skinner. Two years after Harriett’s death in 2003, he married Jennette Campbell Herbert whom he had known as a friend for over 30 years.

 
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