James Kerr Skilling, 92, a longtime resident of Newcastle, passed away on Oct. 24, 2023 at Lincoln Health – Miles Campus in Damariscotta.
Jim was born in San Bernadino County, Calif. to James Kerr and Marie (Wirkler) Skilling and later moved with his mother to Laguna Beach, Calif. He was a 1949 graduate of Laguna Beach High School, received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley (1953) and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He served in the U.S. Navy, achieving the rank of lieutenant junior grade, and taught engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy for a period of time.
Jim was married to Patricia Small in 1956 and they eventually settled and raised their family in Harvard, Mass. Jim had a long career as an electrical engineer at GenRad Inc. (Concord, Mass.; now Teradyne Inc.), including as engineering manager of its test systems division and manager of both the advanced development and applied research groups. He served on various committees of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), including as past president of the IEEE Society of Instrumentation and Measurement. Jim was also a technical advisor to the U.S. Department of Commerce. He held a number of patents on semiconductor test equipment and methods. During his years in Harvard, Jim was actively involved in the community, including serving on the Harvard Trails Committee, the school needs committee, as president of the Harvard Unitarian Church, and serving several terms on the Board of the library trustees. Jim enjoyed outdoor pursuits such as boating, fishing, skiing, and family climbs on Mt. Monadnock. He built a darkroom as part of his amateur photography hobby, could often be found tinkering at his workbench, operating his ham radio, and sported the occasional bow tie … or mustache.
Upon his retirement from GenRad in 1986, Jim and Pat relocated to the Midcoast of Maine where, after a short respite, Jim began a new career as an instructor at the University of Maine at Augusta, teaching statistics and computer science. He developed a CCTV Instructional Program there, and kindly created and printed his own textbooks for students out of respect for their purse strings. He also volunteered to teach computer skills to local community members, worked with a youth robotic Lego team, continued tinkering in his workshop, and enjoyed boating on Lake Damariscotta. He and Pat also enjoyed international travel together. They were married for 67 years.
Jim will be remembered for his curiosity and his quiet and steady demeanor, along with a touch of wit, as evidenced by his Massachusetts Tea “recipe” in the Harvard Unitarian Church Cook Book.
In addition to his wife, Jim is survived by daughter, Katherine Chapin (Thomas); sons, Bruce (Jill) and Christopher; grandchildren, Emily Chapin (Brad Vollkommer), Colin Chapin (Sarah), Sarah Skilling, Taylor Skilling; and five great-grandchildren.
Jim’s family greatly appreciates the wonderful care and support provided by Tracy Poland, as well as the kind staff at Riverside at Chase Point and at LincolnHealth’s Miles Campus.
Services will be private.
Arrangements are being made by Hall’s of Waldoboro.