It is with great sadness that Biggam Fox Skinner announces the death of our partner and friend, Scott Skinner. During his 30 years at the firm, Scott was known for his honesty, kindness, intelligence, wit, and sense of humor. He had a deep interest in other people and all of us at the firm can relate stories of how Scott reached out to us or others in our community with a thoughtful gift or a timely helping hand. He was a remarkable person and his humor lives on in all of us. Few people are so funny that simply thinking about them evokes a smile but Scott was unique in this way.
After earning a BA from Dartmouth College (1964) and a law degree from Columbia University Law School (1969), Scott worked in the public sphere. In the 1970s, he was the first executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG). At VPIRG, Scott conceived and helped pass legislation that put in place significant hurdles for any future nuclear or coal power plants in Vermont, created the “Tooth Fairy” dental bill which helped low-income Vermont children get desperately needed dental care, and protected senior citizens from high-pressure and unnecessary hearing aid sales. In the ‘80s, he served as executive director of the Vermont American Civil Liberties Union (VT-ACLU).
Scott then joined his friends Pat Biggam and Ron Fox in their Montpelier law practice in what became Biggam, Fox & Skinner. He continued to serve the firm in many important ways in his retirement including coming into work for much more than a decade after he officially retired. In his practice as a workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney, and as a volunteer in his community, Scott actively worked to make the world a better place. After college, and before starting law school, he joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Nepal, where he taught English in a remote village. His love for Nepal led to a close, lifelong association with the Nepali people. He was an active Board member in the Phulmaya Foundation which built six primary schools in the hills of far eastern Nepal. In Vermont, Scott worked with the Barre Historical Society to renovate and preserve the Old Labor Hall in Barre.
From an early age, Scott loved hiking, first in the Sierra Nevada range of California and later in Nepal, but mostly he loved the mountains of Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. With his wife, Mary, he climbed the 68 New England peaks over 4,000 feet, and many of the high peaks of the Adirondacks. At age 65, Scott climbed the 48 White Mountain 4,000 footers in a single calendar year. In Nepal, Scott climbed over 18,000 feet on a number of occasions. His highest hike was to Everest Advance Base Camp in Tibet at 21,150 feet.
We feel Scott’s loss deeply and know that he will be missed by everyone whose life he touched, whether here in Vermont or further abroad in Nepal. Our thoughts are with Scott’s family and all who loved him, especially his wife, Mary Just Skinner, and his sons Justin Skinner and Wilson Skinner, and their partners and children.
Thanks for your eternal thoughtfulness, garlic harvest, and all the laughs, Scott.
We love you and miss you.
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