The Heroines

Charlene H. Skaer

is honored with a Brick from William C. and Vicki L. Skaer.

Charlene Helen Allen was born on November 3, 1911 in Idabel, Oklahoma, the fourth child of Charles Orin Allen and Parthenia Helen Fail. She passed away in Augusta, Kansas on June 30, 1998. Her father was a respected merchant, who put his own business at risk by extending credit to those in need during the Depression. Her mother loved the outdoors, and could hunt and fish with the best of them. There were three sisters and one brother. The four siblings maintained a close and loving relationship throughout their lives.

Charlene attended Oklahoma City University and then Oklahoma A & M, now Oklahoma State University, where she received her bachelor's degree. It was there that she met a handsome young man from Kansas, William Stanley Skaer. They were married on April 19, 1935 in Oklahoma City. Just as the biblical Ruth, his people became her people, and she came to live on the Skaer family farm outside of Augusta in 1935.

Mrs. William Stanley Skaer quickly settled into life in Augusta, feeding hired men on the farm (her fried chicken dinners were out of this world), raising a family, and becoming a vital part of the community. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church from the time she came to Augusta. Charlene worked for ten years at the Mobil Oil Refinery in Augusta during the 1950s.

Mother had many interests. She loved to travel, taking trips all over the world. One of our favorite images of her is with a big grin on her face while riding a donkey in Greece. She was the best cook in the world, and could throw a party like no one else.

Bridge was one of her passions, and she would play duplicate on a regular basis. I would frequently call her and ask her what she had done that day, and she would say she had won 50 cents playing duplicate. "Big deal," she would say. Mother was an avid reader, and was a frequent visitor at the Augusta public library.

But, Mother's real strength was her love for family and friends. She would do anything for them. Every week, she used to write a dozen or so of her friends who had moved from Augusta over the years. One of those friends, who had been paralyzed in a car accident, saved all the letters from Charlene. She credited Charlene's weekly letters as one of the factors that gave her the strength to live with her disability.

She especially loved her five granddaughters, Dwynwen DeSilver, Laura Skaer, Katie Skaer, Christen Skaer, and Catherine Bullinger, and her two great-grandchildren, Alex Christina Tatro and Nicolas David Sabatelli. They were the substance and center of her life. Just a few short months before she died, Mother was playing football with her granddaughter Cathy, Cathy's husband John, and great-granddaughter Alex on the lawn outside her apartment.

Even as the effects of disease were ravaging her body in the last month, she was concerned for and ask to see pictures of her babies. One of the last things she acknowledged was the picture of her youngest great-grandchild Nicolas when she said, "Oh that's the new one, he was just here." That was just who and what Charlene Allen Skaer was, and for that we give thanks and say, we love you mom.

April 22, 1999