In Memory

Pauline Strong (Skinner) VIEW PROFILE

12/5/1915 - 5/18/2016

Pauline "Linda" Strong Skinner, departed this life at her home Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at the age of 100. She was born December 5, 1915 to the late William Anderson Strong and Hallie Bowman Strong. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Mr. Eugene Willis Skinner, five sisters and four brothers. After graduating from High School, Ms. Skinner attended and graduated from Knoxville College. At the age of 26, she married Eugene Willis Skinner in 1941. They were married for 53 years. Ms. Skinner taught 40 years and was named Outstanding Teacher among 900 teachers in 1972. She retired in the early 1980s after teaching at Kennedy and Kellom Elementary Schools in Omaha, Nebraska. She stated that teaching brought joy to her life and she enjoyed every bit of it. She was a member of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, which she was a faithful member until her health declined. She is survived by a very devoted and dedicated nephew, Elder James Vincent Little and niece, Evangelist Vanessa Little of the home, one-step-sister Ester Bowman, one step-brother Darcy Bowman, a devoted god-daughter, Kathy Trotter of Omaha, Nebraska; along with a host of nieces, nephews and friends.

A Celebration of life will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, 607 Stanton Street, Eden, NC 27288. Family will receive friends from 1:30-2:00pm at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. Hooper Funeral Home of Winston Salem, NC and Galloways Funeral Home of Eden, NC is assisting the family.

In a troubled corner of Omaha, educator provided care, hope

By Andrew J. Nelson / World-Herald staff writer

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2016

In the 1970s Kellom Elementary School sat next to the Logan Fontenelle housing projects, which teachers called “Little Vietnam.”

Many of the kids there had parents who were absent or in trouble. But kindergarten teacher Pauline “Linda” Skinner could convey how much she cared and help them see a life outside of the projects.

“She made the kids feel like they were worth a million dollars, even though some were a little naughty,” said Kathy J. Trotter, 63, of Omaha, who student-taught under Skinner in the early 1970s. “She sat them down and just talked to them, you know, just like they were little miniature adults. ... Momma Skinner was a role model for the kids.”

Skinner, 100, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a longtime Omaha educator, died last week. Services were Wednesday in Eden, North Carolina, where she was born in 1915.

“She was no nonsense, but she was caring,” said Trotter, retired principal at Druid Hill Elementary School and the first female principal at Jesuit Middle School, now Jesuit Academy. “The students knew that she loved them.”

Among the things she would do for her students was take them home if their parents didn’t come to pick them up.

“She loved to help people, especially kids. It wouldn’t be anything to see her buying clothes for kids,” Trotter said. “She was just a caring person you don’t see a lot nowadays.”

She graduated from Knoxville College in Tennessee in 1937 and taught in North Carolina for several years. It was there she met Eugene Skinner of Omaha. The couple married and moved to Omaha in 1941.

She retired in the early 1980s after teaching at Howard Kennedy and Kellom Elementary Schools in north Omaha.

“My 40 years teaching was a joy,” Skinner told World-Herald columnist Janice Gilmore in December, as she turned 100. “I enjoyed every bit of it.”

She trained a number of student teachers. Trotter credits Skinner with starting her off on the right foot; the two remained close, with Skinner becoming a mother figure to Trotter.

Before she started student teaching, Trotter said, Skinner told her there would be no time for her to just watch. Instead she would have to jump right in and begin teaching classes on her first day as a student teacher.

Trotter, now the coordinator for the Single Parent Homemaker program at Metropolitan Community College, said she wasn’t happy about that at the time. But it worked out well.

“It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. … I don’t know about anybody else, but she just threw me” into the job, Trotter said. “She thought it was wasted time to spend two or three months just sitting around.”

Skinner’s husband Eugene, Omaha Public Schools’ first African-American full-time teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, died in 1993, and she moved back to North Carolina in 2000.

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