SAVANNA—Raymond Carlos Skiles, 82, of Savanna, passed away Monday, April 26, 2021, at MercyOne Medical Center, Clinton, Iowa.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 25, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Savanna. Visitation will take place from 5-7 p.m. Monday, May 24, and from 9:15-10:15 a.m. the morning of the Mass, both at Law-Jones Funeral Home in Savanna. Burial will be at St. John's Catholic Cemetery in Savanna. Family and friends are invited to share in Ray's life at lawjonesfuneralhome.com.
Ray was born Jan. 4, 1939, in Savanna, the son of Clyde N. and Luella (Libberton) Skiles. He grew up north of Savanna in the Millhollow. He attended the Mosquito Hill one-room school house and Savanna High School.
At age 17, he enlisted in the United States Navy. He was stationed in Rhode Island and served on the U.S.S. Waccamaw (AO-109) as a boatswain's mate 3rd class from 1956 to 1961 and traveled around the world.
One weekend, his shipmate invited him to go home with him to New York. During that shore leave he was introduced to his shipmate's sister, Joanne C. Loomis. It was love at first sight and the rest is history. The two were engaged shortly thereafter and married on April 8, 1961. Ray and Joanne settled in Queens, N.Y., after marriage and later moved to Long Island. Together, they celebrated 60 years of marriage.
Ray always had a knack for fixing engines, and he began his career as a mechanic in a local repair shop after the Navy. Over the years Ray moved up to larger diesel engines and worked for several cement companies keeping their fleets running.
In 1977, Ray moved his family back to his hometown of Savanna where he continued to work as a diesel mechanic in Morrison and later in Mount Carroll at Northern Illinois Diesel alongside his son, Ray, where he gained the nickname "Pops". After he retired, he spent his time repairing tractors and other small engines around the area and mowing grass.
Ray enjoyed telling stories of his younger days in the Navy and stock car racing with friends. He enjoyed watching boxing, the Chicago Bears, NACAR racing and his favorite movie, Christmas Vacation, and fishing. He had a great sense of humor and could be found very early most mornings before work down at the local restaurant telling stories over a cup of coffee with friends. His greatest joy, however, was spending time with his family.
Ray was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. He will be dearly missed by his wife, Joanne; his daughter, Catherine (James) Chavez of Tempe, Ariz.; and son, Raymond (Julie) Skiles of Savanna; seven grandchildren, Katie Hamilton, Elizabeth Brunner, Shelby and Abbey Skiles of Illinois, and Carlos, Kendra and Jimi Chavez of Arizona; and five great-grandchildren in Arizona. He is also survived by his brother, Frank (Sharon) Skiles of Louisiana; brother-in-law, Chip (Terry) Loomis, of North Carolina; and numerous nieces and nephews and extended family.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Florence Brandt and Evelyn Rannow; brothers-in-law, Marvin Brandt and Lawrence Rannow; a niece, Vicky Sue Brandt; and an infant daughter.