Our beloved mother passed away with all four of her children at her side on July 13, 2021. She was born April 25, 1931 in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Donald and Ethel Wilder, and grew up in neighboring Chelmsford. She was given the nickname “Skippy” at an early age after a comic strip character who shared her blond curls. That nickname later became Skip, and it was how her friends and family knew her.
Skip met the one and only love of her life as a teenager and married Charles “Chuck” Tewksbury in 1953. Their epic love story lasted almost 70 years until his death in 2019. Even while raising four children and providing vital support for her husband’s career in Silver Spring, Maryland, Neenah, Wisconsin and Charlottesville, Skip found time to volunteer generously at her church and service organizations too numerous to list, but which included Brownie and Cub Scouts, PTA, Young Life, Lion’s Club, JAUNT, Charlottesville Senior Center, and Bailey (now Fralin) Art Museum, just to name a few. She took on the role of host mother to many a foreign exchange student, and after her children were grown, she enrolled at Mary Baldwin University, where she earned a degree in Economics with honors. Her civic engagement continued thereafter with an appointment to the Albemarle County Service Authority, and she also worked tirelessly to ensure scenic highway 250 West remained billboard-free in the face of rapid development. Skip was a proud and active member of two DAR chapters—Albemarle in Virginia and Blackwater in West Virginia, where she and Chuck built their dream retirement home high on a mountain above Canaan Valley. Being in nature, winter sports, and extensive world travels were also passions well into Skip’s eighth decade.
In recent years, Skip and Chuck moved to The Lodge at Old Trail in Crozet, where they thrived in the wonderful community there, and where her engagement in many groups and activities continued. She was with two of her children at the WV mountain house when she fell and broke her femur. Although the surgery to repair the break was successful, the strain on her dear body proved too much, and God mercifully took her back to His care. We take comfort and joy in knowing our parents are reunited in Heaven.
Skip leaves behind to cherish her memory: Zan Tewksbury of Portland; Jeff and Judy Tewksbury of Tampa; David Tewksbury and Naomi Olson of Charlottesville; Deb Jones Tewksbury of Charlottesville; Steve and Cris Tewksbury of Williamsburg; and, grandchildren Carl Snodgrass and Jess Bird, Emma Snodgrass, IO, Evelyn, Lydia, and Jane Tewksbury, Rebecca Tewksbury, and Elizabeth “Lizzy” and Jim Miller. Last but not least, Skip was blessed in 2020 with the birth of two great-grandchildren, Desmond “Desi” Bird, and Theodore Miller.
The family deeply thanks The Lodge at Old Trail for the welcoming and supportive environment they provided our parents over the years, and also the Tucker County (WV) EMS, as well as the ICU staff at Winchester Medical Center for their compassionate care in our mom’s final hours.
Our parents will be laid to rest together in the family cemetery in Lowell, MA in the spring of 2022. If so moved, please make a donation to a favorite charity in honor of Skip.