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Rogue River Mayor Dick Skevington dies at 84

ROGUE RIVER — Mayor Dick Skevington died early Friday at a nursing home in Grants Pass.

City officials say the 84-year-old Skevington had battled health problems for months and had been hospitalized several times since July.

After serving two terms as a City Council member, Skevington picked up the city's gavel in 2004, winning his mayoral seat by a landslide, 304-94, over Tom Lazette.

Councilman John Bond has served as mayor pro tem since Skevington's illness. Bond will remain in the position until the November election and is running for the mayor's seat, officials said.

City Administrator Mark Reagles said he last visited Skevington Thursday. He recalled that Skevington, a World War II veteran, had built bridges for the National Parks Services for 28 years. He worked in Ashland, Crater Lake National Park and at Mount Hood, Reagles said.

"He had a great history of Oregon and our country," Reagles said, adding he would miss the mayor's friendly manner and historical outlook.

An active supporter of the town's tiny Woodville Museum, Skevington was part of the town's history himself — born July 10, 1924, on family property which would later become the community's largest green space, Palmerton Park. He always maintained a residence in Rogue River and returned to the town after his retirement.

Skevington designed the park's original crossing over Evans Creek in the late 1980s, and nailed in the last plank in the replacement bridge in 2001 after the swinging bridge was washed away in the New Year's flood of 1997.

Councilwoman Jo Anne Mead said Skevington possessed a "phenomenal memory."

"You could ask any question about the city and he would remember," Mead said. She added that Skevington did not overmanage city meetings, but could be counted on to offer a pertinent comment, opinion or historical note when needed.

Former Councilman and Mayor Dick Handbury described Skevington as a one-time poker buddy — and someone who always had the town's best interests at heart.

"Dick was just basically a very nice guy," said Handbury. "He enjoyed life and he had a kind heart."

City Recorder and Municipal Clerk Carol Weir visited the ailing Skevington regularly. She said the mayor was eager to discuss the news of the day — especially about his town.

"He was dedicated to the end," said Weir.

"I've known him for over 20 years and he was a friend from day one," she said. "I'm going to miss his smile the most."

Skevington is survived by a sister, Dolores Nelson; daughter and son-in-law, Sandra and Butch Hutchens; daughter, Julie Clark; son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Betsy Skevington; and numerous nieces, nephews, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Reagles said memorial services are tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m., Sept. 26 at Palmerton Park, with additional military services planned at Eagle Point National Cemetery at 2 p.m. the same day.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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