William Langdon Skinner of West Tisbury, MA, formerly of Muncie, IN, died on Martha’s Vineyard December 18th, 2019. Bill was born in Oneida, NY, raised in Port Credit Ontario, Canada and earned a civil engineering degree and All-American honors as a gymnast at the University of Michigan. He and Julie, his wife of 57 years, moved to Muncie in 1964 where they made a lasting impact on the people and community surrounding them. Bill took his ethos for bettering community when he and Julie retired to West Tisbury in 2005.
Bill’s business career centered on strategy and business development, where he excelled through his ability to make everyone around him feel valued and heard. At Ontario Corporation, a family business manufacturing titanium blades for jet engines, Bill started in operations, then became Vice President of Sales, supporting much of the company’s growth in the United States. His time at Ontario included moving his family of five to the United Kingdom where Bill oversaw the retooling of a former flatware company, in order to meet the company’s continued growth. Bill continued his career at Ball Corporation, where he ultimately joined the executive team of Alltrista, the spin-off of several businesses including the Ball-Mason jar division. Bill again ventured to Europe – this time Budapest Hungary – to introduce the home canning business to Eastern Europe.
Wherever he went, Bill dedicated himself to the people in his community. In Muncie, he was a long-time member and a Senior Warden of Grace Episcopal Church, served as President of the Ball State University Foundation board, Chairman of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, President of the Rotary Club and a member of the United Way Board and the Ball Brothers’ Foundation. He helped to found and build: Cardinal Greenway (one of the largest rails-to-trails systems in the US); Innovation Connector (a small business incubator); the Muncie Softball Complex; and the Muncie Tennis Club. In 2003 Bill was named by the Muncie STAR/PRESS as Muncie’s Person of the Year in recognition of his contributions.
After retiring to West Tisbury, Bill continued to give back: he served as Board Member and Chairman during the years-long effort to build the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA; he brought his skills to various small business owners as a SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) mentor; and he served on the Housing Authority Board, established to steward affordable housing on the island.
Bill also had fun - playing golf and tennis, immersing himself in photography, and along with Julie, hosting myriad gatherings and outings for friends and family. Driving 19 hours to a family reunion? Check. Skiing the world with his family? Yep. Whether bicycling the ‘loop’ with grandchildren or creating games for the young ones, his family will celebrate his life, well beyond the sorrow of his death.
Bill is survived by his wife Julie, his three sons, Eric (Chicago, IL), Mike/Cindy (Philadelphia, PA) and Craig/Megan (Lexington, KY), his grandchildren, Catie (Steamboat Springs, CO), Ben (Panama City Beach, FL), Sophie, Izzy and Eli (Lexington, KY), and his brother Ted/Varley (Indianapolis, IN).
A memorial service will be held on July 25th on Martha’s Vineyard at the Federated Church of Edgartown.
Donations in Bill’s memory are welcomed at the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA, the Federated Church of Edgartown, the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, and Grace Episcopal Church, Muncie, IN.