Rich Skiles, long-time member of First Church and the Open Door class, chief cheerleader for the PLNU tennis program, former musician and baseball player, passed away in his home on July 12 after a long illness. He was 91. Reatha, his wife of 68 years, died in January, 2021. Rich had life experience and insight that few people could match, and delivered wisdom in a gentle manner, always followed with a chuckle. Reatha's wisdom and humor (and she had plenty of both) hit you between the eyes like it was launched from a slingshot. Rich's wisdom and humor was coated with honey.
For years, Rich opened the time in the Open Door Sunday School class with prayer, and those in the room felt they were eavesdropping on a conversation with God that was ongoing. You could tell that he and God were long-time friends. His care and love for Reatha was similar to the care and love he gave to their voluminous garden in Point Loma. His care for others was contagious.
When they were no longer able to attend church or Sunday school, they still connected via Skype, thanks to Ted and Dianne Anderson. And even when he was in both physical and cognitive decline, when class members visited him to sing hymns and choruses, he knew when to stand during "Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah, Praise Ye The Lord." In truth, he always knew when to stand for what was right and loving and merciful. He showed us the way.
They were humble and simple people and are celebrating in heaven together.