JOHN T. SKELLY (1927 - 2016)

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SKELLY JOHN T., age 89 of Ft. Lauderdale, passed away on Tuesday, November 8 that Broward Memorial Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale. Jack as he was affectingly known by all was born on June 1st, 1927 in the Dominican Republic. He was the son of Irish American Parents George Martin (1884-1980) and Marguerite Elizabeth Skelly (1893 1983) Jack moved to Cuba when he was 1 years old and grew up in Banes, where his father ran the railroad for United Fruit. Jack served the United States Army in World War II in 1946 and graduated from George Washington University in Journalism. Jack spent 40 years in the news business (30 in daily and weekly journalism, 10 in public relations and lobbying) in Washington, D.C. before he retired to South Florida (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale) on December 31, 1990. His specialty was Cuban, Puerto Rican, Latin American, and Hispanic-American affairs. He was one If not the most experienced newspaperman in the United States writing and commenting on Cuba." He traveled to virtually every country in the Hemisphere, including Canada. He covered many of the major news stories of the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, including the Castro-Communism anti-Batista Revolution. Along the way Skelly interviewed some of the outstanding personalities of our times including President Batista, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Franco of Spain, Presidents Betancourt and Caldera of Venezuela, Gen. Pinochet of Chile, Papa Doc Duvalier of Haiti, Presidents Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, 1983 Nixon, Carter, Bush (father). The last 18 years of his career he was Washington Bureau Chief of Puerto Rico's largest newspaper, El Nuevo Dia. On July 1 2006 Jack published "I Remember Cuba Growing Up American-Cuban. A Memoir of a Town Called Banes." Jack's home was in Cuba from 1927 until 1950. His second book, "The God they believed in" was never published but hopefully will be one day. On June 9th 2016 the Miami herald did a full length story on Jack's hope to return to cuba Sadly, due to health issues this never happened. His children plan to take his ashes to Cuba so that his dream of returning to his childhood home is finally realized. He will also be scattered in Waitsfield Vermont on June 1 2017 alongside his youngest son Joe Louis. Jack is survived by his 6 children Annee Martin, John Skelly Jr, Elizabeth Borgman Skelly, Patricia Skelly, Christopher Skelly, Lucy, Rita Maranda Brown and the mother of his children Lucy Modrak. In addition, he is survived by 7 grandchildren Andrew, Daniel, Patrick, Benjamin, Eric, Maggie, Jessee, Louie, Missy, Gretchen and 3 great grandchildren, Lily, Daphne and Ava. He is also survived by his sister Marjorie Lord and 10 nephews and nieces, Lynden Mary, Maureen, John, Kathleen, Mary Ellen, Martha, Richard Jr, Sharon, George 111, William and his brother George's wife Peggy. Jack was sadly predeceased by his youngest son Joe Louis his brother George Skelly, his brother Richard and wife Angelina, their daughters Maggie and Coleen, John Lord. His beloved pets Rainey, Keisha and Louie were all there to greet him with wagging tails upon his arrival to heaven. While Jack's numerous accomplishments are worthy he will forever be remembered by his love and devotion to his family and friends, his sincere interest in everyone he met and his big heart. He loved to watch old classic movies and look out at the water from his bedside. Everyone who met Jack could not resist being charmed by his quick wit and sense of humor. He will be missed by all.
Published in the Miami Herald on Nov. 20, 2016
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