Over the course of his life, John Greenslade Skewes ’51 TU ’56 had a “peaceful” attitude that profoundly impacted everyone around him, according to his son David Skewes.
“He was one of the kindest people I ever knew,” his son, David Skewes, said. “Everybody that knew him loved him.”
Skewes, who passed away on Mar. 27, served as Director of Business Affairs for the College and led and founded several organizations in Hanover. Skewes is survived by his two sons, two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, according to his online obituary. He was 93 years old.
Skewes was highly involved in town life, according to David Skewes. He founded the Hanover Youth Hockey Association, served as president of the Hanover Improvement Society, was a member of both the Hanover and Dresden School Boards and the Hanover Board of Selectmen. Skewes also chaired the Hanover Inn Board of Overseers, directed the Hanover Water Works Company and was involved with the Hanover Rotary Club. In 1993, Skewes was named Hanover’s Citizen of the Year.
Born in Claremont, New Hampshire, in 1929, Skewes moved to Concord, Massachusetts, for his senior year of high school before graduating in 1946.
As a born and raised Granite Stater who grew up attending Dartmouth football games and track meets, Skewes never doubted where he wanted to attend college, he said in a 2003 interview.
“I was a Dartmouth fan from being a kid,” Skewes said. “I just never considered anything else.”
Dartmouth was the only school applied to, and he was “semi-recruited” to play football by backfield coach Milton Piepul, according to Skewes’ interview. While in college, Skewes majored in history and founded Dartmouth’s first rugby team.
“[John Skewes and other students] started the rugby program because there was a tournament in Bermuda,” David Skewes said. “They thought it would be a great excuse to go to Bermuda on spring break, which was one of his fondest memories.”
After graduating from Dartmouth in 1951, Skewes enlisted in the Army “with three other friends” from college, serving as an officer during the Korean War. While on leave from officer candidate school, Skewes met his wife Constance back in Concord. David Skewes recalled his father’s story of meeting his mother at the department store, where she worked at the time.
“He went up to her and said ‘Would you like to go to a hockey game?’ to which she responded ‘with who?’ and he said ‘with me,’ and that was their introduction,” David Skewes said.
Hockey was an important part of Skewes’ life, according to David Skewes. He was his son’s hockey coach, and took their team to Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery — which was then owned by his friend and founder Lou Bressett — after every practice.
“I would still be in my hockey equipment sitting at the counter with my dad, having one of Lou’s crullers and a cup of hot chocolate,” David Skewes said. “I’d say that’s one of my favorite memories.”
John Hochreiter, who served as President of the Hanover Improvement Society after Skewes, and as a member of the Hanover Rotary Club, remembered Skewes as “self-assured, dynamic and one of the brightest people I’ve come across.”
According to Hochreiter, Skewes had a “valuable” connection to the Hanover community, adding that Skewes “engineered the next two presidents” of the Hanover Improvement Society by “putting his arm around and saying ‘wouldn’t you like to do this?’”
Skewes helped the Rotary Club to form a better relationship with the College, Hochreiter said. As a member of the College’s administration, he facilitated the conversations that gave Rotary a “town-gown relationship,” according to Hochreiter.
“[Skewes] always believed in the rotary traditions of service above self,” Hochreiter said.
Skewes never forgot the lifelong friends he made while at Dartmouth. He could still recall the names of his classmates eighty years after graduation, running into and sitting with old friends at Dartmouth football games, David Skewes said.
“That’s a pretty neat legacy,” he said.
Each time Skewes left Hanover, he found his way back. After graduating from the Tuck School of Business in 1956, he and Connie temporarily moved to Connecticut. Eventually, the couple found that they could not justify living in Connecticut when they wanted to spend their time in New Hampshire, according to David Skewes.
When asked what kept Skewes in Hanover, David Skewes answered, “Dartmouth.”
“He just loved the College,” David Skewes said. “He walked to work. He was just so familiar with the place and he loved being a part of that community.”