Willene was born in Manitou, Manitoba on February 14, 1922, the only child of Harold and Evelyn (nee Henderson) Goldsmith. After spending the first few years of her life on a beautiful farm near Manitou, she moved to Winnipeg, during the Depression, where her parents ran a boarding house. Her parents moved to Morden before the war and Willene completed high school at the town’s Maple Leaf Collegiate. Willene then entered the nursing program at the Port Arthur General Hospital in Thunder Bay, graduating in 1943 before transferring back to the Morden hospital where she served as assistant head nurse for the surgical suite.
She married George Skinner on January 26, 1946 in Winnipeg. She and George soon welcomed their first son, Leigh, and their second son, Brent, followed by their daughter Laurene several years later. The family lived in Carman, Manitoba and Winnipeg before moving to Yorkton in 1958, where George helped establish CKOS TV. Last but not least, Janice, their youngest daughter, was born in Yorkton which completed their family.
Willene was a loving wife and mother who had a major role in raising her four children as George was very involved with his broadcasting business. Over the years, her family expanded to include twelve grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Willene served in many voluntary organizations, including the United Church Women and the Sweet Adelines. In George’s retirement, they travelled widely around the world and greatly enjoyed their winter vacation home in Tucson.
Blessed with a warm sense of humour and an outgoing personality, Willene had many friends and continued to expand her social circle even in her later years. She was much loved, and will be both sorely missed and fondly remembered.
The funeral service was held Friday, August 18, 2017 from Westview United Church with Reverend Brian Mee officiating. Willene’s children shared words of remembrance. The Westview Church Choir and the Yorkton Community Choir sang with Laurene Jemieff as the organist and Shani Apland as the pianist. Urnbearers were Brent & Leigh Skinner. The interment followed on Saturday in the family plot at Fairview Cemetery, Roland, MB. Donations may be made to the Yorkton Community Choir or the Anne Portnuff Theatre Revitalization Project.