Mary Nell Millstead Skelton

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 17, 2007

Mary Nell Millstead Skelton, age 96, went to be with her Lord on Sept. 15, 2007. Mrs. Skelton was pre-deceased in 1984 by her husband of 54 years, Ben L. Skelton. Born in Wylam on June 27, 1911, to Henry Arthur Millstead and Angela Jeanette Verchot, she frequently retrieved lost children and the elderly who had wandered from home in her neighborhood. As a graduating senior at age 16, she was elected as the first female president of the student body at Jefferson County High School and also served as the class poet. From an early age, she played key roles in theatrical productions, and later directed plays in the community. Her post-high school education focused on oral interpretation and speech. During the early years of her marriage, she made her home in Birmingham; during the late 1930s, she and her husband managed the Belmont Hotel in Abbeville, S.C.

Mrs. Skelton was a member of the Columbiana United Methodist Church, and a member emeritus of the Columbiana Library Board and the Vignette Club. For 31 years, her kindergarten graduation productions, written and directed by herself, were a well-attended community highlight. After retiring as a kindergarten teacher, she served as a reading volunteer at Elvin Hill Elementary School. Because of her community involvement (kindergarten participation in homecoming parades, and other local events) and teaching expertise, she received several awards and honors: the 1989 Rotary Club Citizen of the Year, City Council and Mayor Award, George H. Bush Point of Light Award. She will be remembered as the “Birthday Lady” because of her telephone calls to church members of various denominations in the community on their birthdays. Mrs. Skelton was a devoted and exemplary Christian wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, teacher and friend.

She will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing and loving her.

Mrs. Skelton is survived by three children and their spouses; B. Lawrence Skelton, M.D. (Betty) of Guntersville; Kenneth E. Skelton, M.D. (Denise) of Gadsden; and Dr. Angela S. Hughes (Dr. Emmett) of Huntsville.

Funeral service will be held Sept. 18, 2007, at 1 p.m. in Columbiana United Methodist Church. Private burial will follow at the Verchot Cemetery. The family will receive friends in the church fellowship hall for an hour following the service.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations to the children’s section in a library of their choice in Mrs. Skelton’s memory