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In Memory of Ray Skeleton 1943 2006

Ray Skeleton

Ray Skeleton

Minnesota Sea Grant lost an advisory committee member and the Great Lakes maritime community lost a charismatic personality on October 13 when Ray Skelton died following a battle with cancer.

Captain Skelton, a former Great Lakes ship master, served as the security, environmental, and government affairs director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. He was also the foreign trade zone manager.

A native of Bay City, Mich., Captain Skelton served in the Navy Submarine Service from 1961 64. From 1965 86 he sailed with the American Steamship, Litton Industries, and Columbia Steamship lines. He received a first class pilot’s license in 1972 and a master’s license in 1976 from the Associated Maritime Officers School of Navigation in Toledo, Ohio.

Skelton worked for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority since 1990. He served on numerous boards and Sea Grant’s advisory committee. Contributing up to days before he passed away, Skelton helped Sea Grant for seven years in this capacity and participated on staff search committees. In his spare time, he ran the Bedrock Bar in Duluth, and, true to his nature, offered all funeral-goers drinks on the house after the ceremony.

Skelton is survived by three grown daughters and lives on in the memories of his many friends across North America. Davis Helberg, former Duluth Seaway Port Authority director, said that Skelton had seemed to have a “cast iron constitution,” which complemented his “cast iron views of who the good guys were and what was right with the world and what was wrong. He may not always have been right, but he was never in doubt. That’s how he was and I admired him for that.”

By Sea Grant Staff
February 2007

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