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Earl G. "Bud" Skeens Jr.

Ferrum Loses A Legend: Remembering Col. Skeens
December 14, 1930 - October 31, 2002


     Skeens, Colonel (LTC-Ret.) Earl Grayson, Jr. (Bud), 71, of Roanoke, Smith Mountain Lake, and Ferrum, completed his journey on October 31, 2002, following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Bud Skeens was born in Princeton, WVa, on December 14, 1930, to Earl G. and Myrtle Kayton Skeens.


     He attended public schools in Roanoke, graduating from Jefferson High School, where he was president of the student body, in 1949. In 1954, he graduated from the University of Virginia, where he received his BA in history and received a commission in the U.S. Army through ROTC. He continued his military service on active duty and in the Reserve, retiring after three decades of service. He also continued his education at the UVa, receiving a Master's degree in 1960 and did further graduate study at Duke University and UVa. Beginning his career at Ferrum College in 1964 as Assistant Professor of history and as Varsity Men’s Tennis coach, he held many positions at the college, always successfully tackling new challenges. During his tenure, which was the longest of any faculty member at the college, he taught more than 10,000 students in his popular classes, built a nationally recognized tennis program (345 wins/41 losses), and established one of the largest ROTC programs in the nation. The recipient of many teaching awards and honors, he also was a noted expert in the military, and continued to serve the Department of Defense until his death. He appeared on national media as a military history resource. A versatile and accomplished man, he enjoyed roles as diverse as an educator for the VA State Police academy to a television show host to a judge for the Miss Virginia pageant. He also served as a ruling elder at Second Presbyterian Church.

     He is survived by his brother, James Kayton Skeens, and wife, Olive, of Richmond, VA; three nieces, Susan Herron, of Staunton, VA, Carol Hollinger of Warrenton, VA, and Linda Adkins of Richmond, VA; three great nephews and two great nieces.

     After 12:00 pm, on Sunday, November 3, visitors may call at Oakey's South Chapel on Brambleton Ave. SW. Family and friends may greet one another between 7 pm and 9 pm.

     Grave side services will be held at 10:00 am on Monday, November 4, in Evergreen Burial Park followed by a memorial celebration at 11:00 am at Second Presbyterian Church on Third St. and Mountain Ave., Roanoke. Services will be conducted by Dr. George W. Anderson. After the service, there will a gathering of friends in the church’s fellowship hall.

     A second memorial service* will be held on the Ferrum College campus Wednesday, November 6, at 12:00 pm in Vaughn Chapel.

     In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Second Presbyterian Church, 214 Mountain Ave., SW, Roanoke, VA, 24014; Ferrum College, P.O. Box 1000, Ferrum, VA, 24088; or to the Jefferson Center Memorabilia Room, 541 Luck Ave., Suite 221, Roanoke, VA, 24016.

     Col. Skeens dedicated his life to the service of and care for others. He had the love of intellectual pursuits and teaching of an exceptional educator, the encouragement and gentle guidance of a coach, the steel and discipline of a soldier, the heart of a loving son, the grace and élan of a gentleman, and the love and compassion of a committed Christian. History will show he won this war.

* will be replaying the audio of the Skeens memorial service at Ferrum College, click here for details.

Col. Skeens at various times in his military service:

Bud Skeens with his tennis teams:

A special event to honor Col. Skeens held July, 2002:



Fundraising is in progress for the Skeens Tennis Center
For photos of the ground-breaking click here

Photos from the Alumni Tennis Match during Homecoming weekend:


Click for more Col. Skeens Photos

Click for the Groundbreaking Ceremony on the Skeens Tennis Center

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