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Published: Tuesday, 2/6/2007

Campsites owner put honesty first

PORT CLINTON - Betty Jane Skinner, who owned a Portage Township campground and ceramics shop and was the office manager for a plumbing and heating business belonging to her husband and brother-in-law, died Sunday in the Riverview Health Care Campus, Oak Harbor. She was 80.

Mrs. Skinner, who had battled pancreatic cancer for two years, died of complications from an infection contracted last month, said a grandson, Scott Skinner.

Mr. Skinner described his grandmother as "a very strong, loving person." She strived to maintain a family atmosphere at Sleepy Hollow Campground, built on part of an ancestral homestead along East Harbor Road, and would not tolerate rowdiness there, he said.

"I never heard her speak badly of anybody, even about the things some of those campers pulled," the grandson said.

Marvin Skinner, Scott's father, said honesty and fairness also were paramount to his mother.

"She used to say there was only one thing that mattered after you were gone, and that was your name," the son said. "If she found a dollar and knew it belonged to somebody, she made sure that person got it back."

Mrs. Skinner taught ceramics, painting, and other crafts, and made many ceramic lighthouse models that she sold to others, Marvin Skinner said.

She played the organ at her church, Peace Lutheran of Port Clinton, andoccasionally played at other churches in the area.

"Whenever somebody needed an organist, she was happy to do it," Scott Skinner said.

Born Betty Jane Zelms, she met Virgil M. Skinner at a junior high basketball game in nearby Gypsum, Ohio, when she was 13. They married three years later.

Mr. Skinner died in 1987.

Survivors include her sons, Marvin, Danny, and Mark; 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandchild.

Visitation will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Gerner-Wolf-Walker Funeral Home, Port Clinton, where services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday. The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society.

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