Harriet Skillman, 100

Harriet Skillman, 100

Harriet Skillman passed away on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, at the age of 100. How can a century of living be put into words? Not easily, but the following events and memories were taken from notes made by Harriet herself that had significant meaning to her. Her thoughtful spirit planned the details for her family to follow after her passing. 

Visitation with family present to greet friends will be from 5 until 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, at George Boom Funeral Home & On-Site Crematory, Sioux Falls. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 1, 2023, also at the funeral home. Private family interment will take place following the service at Pleasant View Cemetery in Valley Springs.

Harriet, daughter of Walter and Margaret Carlson, was born Oct. 29, 1922, near East Sioux Falls. She grew up near Colton, S.D., attending a one-room country school where she completed her studies in seven years instead of eight. She attended Colton High her freshman year, until the family moved to Valley Springs where she completed her high S\school in 1939 at the age of 16. She worked at the Valley Drug Store and the office of Allen Lumber until moving to Redfield in 1942 to work in the Soil Conservation Office. After marrying Norman Skillman in July, 1944, she moved to Omaha, where she worked at Mutual Benefit Insurance while Norman was stationed at Fort Omaha. After the war ended, they moved back to Valley Springs and built the home they lived in for 57 years. Her three children—Lynnette, Terry and Wendy—were the cornerstones of her life. Harriet also shared a birthday with her great-granddaughter, Katelyn Malwitz—something very special to both.

Harriet was always one who worked hard to help support her family—from babysitting to preparing the monthly light and water bills for Valley Springs residents. She also filled in at the local bank for vacationing/absent workers, was doctor’s assistant/receptionist at the local doctor’s office and was Clerk of the School Board in Valley Springs for many years. After the Brandon Valley School reorganization in 1962, she worked at the Valley Springs school office in the mornings and the Brandon school office in the afternoons. In 1967, she became office manager for Dixie Bake Shop in Sioux Falls, until retiring in 1990. She was also self-taught in upholstering, and did many chairs and sofas for local people, including “remaking” upright pianos into smaller, leather-covered instruments for many in the 1950’s. She thoroughly enjoyed her work outside the home, especially interacting with others and fostering relationships among her co-workers.

Throughout her life, Harriet volunteered a lot, using her talents and love of music by acting in local plays, playing trombone in the school band, singing in school choirs and her Church choir, playing the piano or singing duets with friend Alice Hager for church as well as local events, and was a charter/10-year member of the Sweet Adelines, a women’s barbershop group. Even into her late 80’s and 90’s she weekly played piano for “sing-along” with her neighbors at Bergland Apartments, led and often played for “sing-along” at Active Generations every Tuesday, and also volunteered with Active Generations’ Day Break, playing music for guests to sing along to, including hymns for church services. She was also a good bowler, and spent many years bowling in area leagues.

Harriet was a member of the First Congregational Church in Valley Springs for nearly 70 years, joining First Presbyterian Church after moving to Sioux Falls in 2005 following the death of her husband. She was recognized as “Volunteer of the Month” by Day Break in 2011, including recognition by the Downtown Rotary Club. She also was recognized by the Charles R. Doman American Legion Auxiliary Unit #131 in Valley Springs for being a member for 60-plus years. 

Harriet lived independently until health resulted in a move to The Inn on Westport in 2019, where she remained until late 2020, when two falls left her unable to walk. She then lived with her son, Terry and his wife, Cindy, who cared for her until her death. Her selfless acts of care, love and devotion to her family throughout her life will be remembered and celebrated. 

Grateful for having shared her life are two daughters, Lynnette Olson and Wendy (Paul) Severson, Sioux Falls, and a son, Terry Skillman (Cindy) of Silver City, S.D.; a sister, Joy Outka, Sioux Falls; eight grandchildren: Michael Olson, Waynesboro, Va., Teri Lyn Hanson and Chris (Sara) Hanson, Sioux Falls, Sara Skillman Blom (Bryan), Rapid City, Anna Deets-Skillman (Pat Romberg), Thomas Skillman, Matthew (Elizabeth) Skillman and Megan Skillman (Eli Davis), of the Seattle, Wash., area; 14 great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild as well as many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Norman, her parents, two brothers, Donald and Marvin Carlson, all in-laws, and a great-grandson.

For online condolences, visit georgeboom.com. 



The Brandon Valley Journal


The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
(605) 582-9999

Email Us


Please Login for Premium Content