James Skardon turned 100 years old on November 2.
Affectionately known as “Mr. Jimmy,” Skardon has been a vital part of Colleton County for many years. His community service participation has been endless.
On Nov. 10, a resolution was passed by Colleton County council members acknowledging November 2 as “James Skardon Day.”
Skardon was born on Nov. 2, 1920, in Francisville, La., to the Rev. Alvin and Genevieve Skardon. After moving here, his father was pastor at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church for 26 years.
Jimmy Skardon went to Walterboro High School where he played football. Later, he attended Clemson University and graduated in 1942 with a B.S. in economics.
When World War II broke out in 1939, Skardon, as well as his four brothers, all fought in that war. All five made it home, even though his brother Cpl. Alvin Skardon Jr., was a German prisoner of war, and brother Col. Beverly “Ben” Skardon was a Japanese prisoner of war, surviving prison camps and the Bataan Death March for more than three years. Becoming deathly ill, two fellow Clemson alumni, Henry Leitner and Otis Morgan, kept Ben alive by spoon-feeding him and eventually trading his hidden gold Clemson ring for food. He later received the Order of the Palmetto and the Congressional Gold Medal. He is now 103.
Another brother, Captain Ambrose Skardon, received a Bronze Star for establishing an aircraft warning system in India-Burma.
And Captain James Skardon himself was awarded a Bronze Star medal for meritorious service by keeping signal communications open and maintained under trying circumstances initiated by the enemy.
Skardon married Geraldine Graham, who was a former teacher at Walterboro High School, choir director and organist at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, president of the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of South Carolina, and a member of the board of directors at Still Hopes in Columbia. Throughout their 60 years together, they had four daughters, seven grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
Skardon had his own insurance business in Walterboro and became known for his generosity with his time and money.
In the past, he served on the board of directors for the Colleton American Cancer Society, on the Walterboro Planning and Zoning Commission, chairman of the Crippled Children’s Society of S.C., as a member of the American Legion, as president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Lions Club. He was awarded the Jaycees Distinguished Service Award, just to name a few. Recently, he received recognition for being a member of the Lions Club for over 70 years.
Skardon is still an influential member of St. Jude’s Church where his father pastored and for whom the fellowship hall, Skardon Hall, is named.
“We have been truly blessed to have him as our dad,” said daughter Genny Shelly.
“Uncle Jim was my uncle by virtue of marrying my mother’s sister, but he was the closest thing to a father that I had growing up in Walterboro. I hear a lot of people talking about what it takes to be a Christian, but Uncle Jim lived it and is living it every day of his life,” said the Honorable Judge Perry Buckner, a 14th Judicial Circuit judge and Skardon’s nephew. “I feel blessed to have him in my life, and I know of no one who has encountered him in his or her life who does not feel the same way. His spirit and kindness touches everyone he befriends, and we are all thankful that he is part of our lives.”