NORMAN — Former County Commissioner George Skinner was often a man of few words when our reporters’ notebooks were out. He didn’t grandstand his accomplishments or pass judgment on the work of others behind the scenes. But when he was asked to publicly comment on a county issue, he chose his words wisely and we listened.
His death at age 77 this week reminds us of all of the accomplishments that came during the 22 years he sat in the District 2 seat. Mr. Skinner’s tenure covered at least two redistricting periods, a change in the face of courthouse politics, a courthouse and county office building addition and remodel, and the construction of a new jail.
Commissioner Skinner was a champion for the health department, the community services building, McKenzie Gardens and the county’s participation in the emergency youth shelter. Although he wore a tie when he needed one for public events, he always seemed more comfortable in work clothes visiting with his road crews. To them and the rest of the courthouse, he was just “George.”
He changed his registration from Democrat to Republican a few years ago, but his compassion and caring attitude for people never changed. At the time, he said he switched parties because he saw the district’s registration moving to the Republican party.
Cleveland County benefited immensely from his service. At his retirement party, he talked about his years as an elected official: “It’s been very humbling that the voters have allowed me to be a public servant for so many years,” he said. “It’s been a great ride.”
Thanks, George, for taking us along.