Michael J. Skeldon, 54

Nov 8, 2019 by

Published in the November 8, 2019 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Michael J. Skeldon, 54, of Wakefield, formerly of Kankakee, Illinois, died of complications from pancreatic cancer on Monday, November 4, 2019 at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Born in Kankakee, Illinois, on December 23, 1964, to Judith (Jefferson) and Oran Lee Skeldon, Mike grew up surrounded by family, including parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and a younger brother, Richard. While still a child, he discovered lifelong passions for construction, antique collecting, and sports. The many snow-filled Midwest winters of the 1970s gave Mike ample opportunity to hone his abilities in structural design; he built sidewalk-spanning snow arches strong enough to walk on. Using Lego, he designed and built working scale models of suspension bridges and drawbridges. At this point, his future career was not hard to predict.

Mike had a classic American boyhood, playing baseball, running cross country, rooting for the Cubs, delivering newspapers, and forming many lasting friendships. After graduating from Westview High in 1983, Mike went on to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a scholarship. His first night at college was spent in a dormitory. By the next night, he had moved into the venerable Phi Beta Epsilon fraternity, where he immediately felt at home. During a rush week event, a brother introduced him to a Wellesley sophomore, Lucy Calvin. By mid-1986, Mike and Lucy had two cats and an apartment together.

After graduating in 1987 with a degree in architecture, he began working for Kennedy & Rossi of Arlington as a planner. He later moved into project management as a vice president, where he oversaw the planning and construction of several buildings for MIT, Tufts University, Groton and Middlesex Schools, and Prospectus. The new headquarters for Tufts Health Plan developed by Prospectus, the intricate completion of a “glass pyramid” office building, and various drug production facilities for the bio/pharma industry were among his many notable projects. He subsequently rose to be lead executive in two new startup businesses, Hybrid Parking and KennTech.

In 1990, he and Lucy were married at Wellesley College’s Houghton Chapel. They moved to Wakefield in 1991 and upgraded from cat parents to child parents in 1995 upon the birth of their daughter, Kathryn. Sons Christopher and Alexander followed in 1998 and 2003. Mike was an enthusiastic father, and supported any and all whims and passions demonstrated by his children. He chaperoned field trips, coached soccer and softball, built sets for the Wakefield High School Drama Club, attended student concerts, plays, and recitals, and cheered on his sons at cross country and track meets. He was always available to help with a move, demystify math homework, and offer advice.

Mike was a devoted, dependable, and selfless husband, aiding and abetting Lucy’s sometimes overambitious projects. At home he was adored by a continuous collection of cats, and by a dog, who appreciated his culinary skills as much, if not more than, the human members of the family. He had a great sense of humor and a strong wordplay game, volleying puns with the best of them. He never stopped trying to make life better for his family; he always seemed to be planning the next home improvement project. He was a member of the two-time TSF Trivia Team Challenge champion team Eponymous, and he was thrilled to live to see both the Red Sox and his beloved Cubs finally win their respective World Series.

In 2006, Mike joined Prospectus, where he became a senior project manager of major construction projects for Tufts University. At Tufts, he oversaw the construction of the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center, the Science and Engineering Complex, and the installation of the new life-sized Jumbo statue. When he wasn’t at Tufts, Mike was managing the renovation of the Phi Beta Epsilon house for his fraternity brothers at MIT. Mike was a natural problem-solver, and always asked the questions others hadn’t. His children saw his work ethic firsthand, often accompanying him on late-night car rides to make sure a drainage pipe was working, or that a site had been cleaned up after a day’s work.

In 2017, Mike began training with the Tufts Marathon Team, under legendary coach Don Megerle. Over many miles of practice, he bonded with other members of the team, and became a fixture at team runs. On April 16, 2018, Mike ran the Boston Marathon. He finished the race, tired and triumphant, as his proud but hypothermic family watched from the sidelines.

Mike was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Lucy; his brother, Richard Skeldon, of Kankakee, Illinois; his uncle and aunt, Benny and Charlene Skeldon, both of Marco Island, Florida; his children, Kathryn, Christopher, and Alexander Skeldon; his brother- and sister-in-law, Nathaniel Calvin and Polly Siegel of Los Altos, California; and many beloved friends from every stage of his life.

Visitation for relatives and friends will be held on Tuesday, November 12, from 4–8 p.m. at the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Avenue, Wakefield, MA. A memorial service is planned for the spring.

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