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Obituary (MN): Mrs. Elaine (Clifford A. Skinner Jr. '50)

Posted on 06/25/2018

Gladys Elaine Olson Skinner, 94, died peacefully on Monday, May 28, 2018, in Sunnyvale, California. Elaine was born to Nels and Hannah (Hanson) Olson in Detroit Lakes. As one of eight children in her family, Elaine grew up and attended country school in Shell Lake Township. She graduated from Frazee High School in 1942. During World War II, Elaine and her older sister Doris mustered up their courage to leave the family farm and relocate to Washington, DC, to take government jobs and assist with the war effort. While in Washington, Elaine met and fell in love with a midshipman from the United States Naval Academy. Elaine married Clifford A. Skinner, Jr. in Norfolk, Virginia in 1951. Elaine worked for the government for ten years in positions of increasing responsibility. She was highly regarded by her supervisors. Elaine was a marvelous "navy wife". She and Cliff raised three wonderful children: Clifford "Kip" Skinner, III, Carolyn Alicia Skinner and Cathryn "Katie" Alison Skinner (Wiederholt). Prior to Cliff's retirement from the Navy, the family lived in San Diego, Guam, San Francisco, Maryland and Honolulu, Hawaii. Elaine's enthusiasm for life and travel made each move an "adventure" and positive experience for her children. Elaine was active and held leadership roles in several volunteer associations. After Cliff's retirement, the Skinners made their home in Coronado, California, before moving back to Honolulu in 1994. Elaine and Cliff moved to Sunnyvale, California (near San Francisco) in 2014. Elaine was a devoted and giving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Her family was extremely important to her. She was a very caring person who enjoyed being with and helping others. Those who knew Elaine best will remember her great sense of humor, boundless energy and curiosity for life. These same attributes will live on in the lives of her children. She made countless return visits to Detroit Lakes and Island Lake for reunions with "Hannah's" children. These trips were the tentacles that bound her to her roots in Minnesota.Elaine will be missed and fondly remembered by her husband Cliff, children Kip and Katie, grandchildren Lauren Skinner, Max Wiederholt, Ben Wiederholt and Haley Skinner and a host of devoted nieces, nephew, cousins and friends. Preceding her in death were her parents; three brothers (Ernie, Willis and Glenn Olson); and four sisters (Lillian Carlson, Doris Tyree, Arlet Olson and Harriet Davis) and daughter, Carolyn. Elaine's family will be celebrating her life on several occasions in the months to come.In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory can be made to Shell Lake Immanuel Lutheran Church, c/o Norma Grotnes, 24218 East Island Lake Road, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501.