Richard Skuce [1933-2013]; Ex-Toledoan a founder of Botanical Garden


Richard Skuce, a former Toledo resident who worked for Owens Corning and was a founding father of Toledo Botanical Garden, died Sunday in Riverside Hospital in Columbus. He was 80.

Mr. Skuce underwent surgery for a heart valve replacement last Friday and suffered a major stroke on Saturday, said his son, Dan Skuce.

“This was very surprising. The doctor said they had not seen this before,” he said.

Mr. Skuce and his wife of 50 years, Peggy, moved from Sylvania to Powell in Delaware County seven years ago. They also had lived in West Toledo.

While living on Country Squire Lane in Toledo, the Skuces became involved in the fledgling Toledo Botanical Garden, originally known as Crosby Park, on Elmer Drive in West Toledo. Mr. Skuce, who worked in finance for Owens Corning, was sought out by the late Dick Boers, the city forestry commissioner, because he had guided his neighborhood association through financial problems, Dan Skuce said.

Mr. Skuce was elected in 1973 as the first president of the 15-member Crosby Park Board, which replaced an advisory committee formed in 1969.

Mr. Skuce continued to serve on the board for many years and volunteered for Toledo Botanical Garden activities. Until his death he was an emeritus board member of the organization.

“That was a huge passion for him,” his son said. “My mom said Toledo Botanical Garden was his second love behind his family.”

Mr. Skuce was born on Nov. 23, 1933, in Schenectady, N.Y., to Ruth and Walter Skuce. His father was an executive for Owens Corning and a governmental consultant for many years.

Mr. Skuce attended DeVilbiss High School in Toledo and continued his education at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, obtaining a degree in economics. He entered the U.S. Army and was assigned to the Pentagon in Washington. He married the former Margaret Byrne on Feb. 16, 1963, in Kansas City, Mo.

Mr. Skuce joined Owens Corning in the early 1960s, holding positions in finance and credit for the company. He worked in Kansas City and Witchita before working at Owens Corning’s headquarters in Toledo. He retired in 1994, but returned to do consulting work for four or five years.

In retirement, Mr. Skuce joined his wife in volunteering for Mobile Meals in Toledo.

Surviving are his wife, Peggy; son, Dan Skuce; daughters, Anne Skuce and Molly Heit, and five grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday in Rutherford Funeral Home in Powell, Ohio. A celebration of life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Delaware, Ohio.

The family suggests tributes to Toledo Botanical Garden or the church.

— Mark Reiter