Leonard T. Skeggs Sr.

Leonard T. Skeggs Sr.

Leonard “Len” Skeggs came to Youngstown in 1919 from Texas at the conclusion of World War One and took the job of Education Secretary for the Youngstown YMCA. He was also active at Camp Fitch, regularly telling stories of Indians around the camp fire.[1] He was promoted to General Secretary in 1923 succeding L.C. Haworth. 1)[2][3] He helped Paul B. Davies select the Lake Erie site to move from the West Point Camp Site.[2]

Leonard oversaw one of the more turbulent periods in the Y's History. He was responsible for guiding the Youngstown YMCA through the stock market crash, the Great Depression[4] and attempting to overcome the Jim Crow philosophy in Youngstown. That issue would not be finally resolved until the 1970s.[5] He is also credited with being the driving force behind creating what would later become Youngstown State University when he acquired the John C. Wick and Henry Wick houses for use by the fledgling school.[6] He also hired the president and faculty and obtained the accreditation for the four year program. It was Leonard's intent that Youngstown College be dedicated to the education of young men and women without consideration of race, color, or creed.[7] The school began as an actual branch of the Youngstown YMCA, and due do his loyalty to the YMCA he campaigned to keep it that way. [6]

He held the position of General Secretary until his untimely and tragic death in 1933[3] from a self inflicted gun shot wound while on a leave of absence in Florida.[8][9] Upon his death he was succeeded as General Secretary by Paul B. Davies. Corporate, civic, and religious leaders praised him in the Vindicator after his death was announced. Rabbi Philo perhaps best recalled his friend Len:

“He possessed great executive ability. He understood men and how to win their confidence and cooperation. Had he applied his talents in commerce or industry he would have achieved distinction. He gave of his times and talents of an energy and enthusiasm to every good cause that needed him. He never spared himself when called upon to serve. His life is inseparably bound up with the life and progress of Youngstown. His passing leaves a void that will not soon be filled.”[10]

Len was survived by his wife and three children; Leonard, Dave, and Betty. The pallbearers were Y secretaries: David Sutherland Jr., E. Shaw, D.H. Fairfield, W.H. Mead, Curly Johnson, Raymond Witchey, Howard Jones (Director of Youngstown College), and Paul B. Davies.[11]

The Skeggs Dining Hall is named in honor of his son, Leonard T. Skeggs Jr., who attended camp as a camper in the 1920s.[12] His son also donated the money for Skeggs Lodge.

Comtemporaries

While Len worked at Camp Fitch, he worked along side Paul Davies, Pat Brannon, and Ray Witchey.[1]

See Also

References

1. a, b Youngstown Vindicator, June 14, 1924. Camp Fitch, much improved, to open soon. Vindicator Printing Company.
2. a, b Carson, Charles B., June 24, 1923. YMCA Opens New Camp Fitch on Shore of Lake Erie. Vindicator Printing Company.
3. a, b Youngstown State University, March 2013. Skeggs Lecture Series. Youngstown State University Office of Alumni & Events Management.
4. a Leonhart, Al, February 2011. HISTORICAL MOMENTS AT THE YOUNGSTOWN YMCA #66: SMOOTH TRANSITIONS. Youngstown YMCA.
5. a Beverly, Micheal A., August 2002. African-American Experience in Youngstown 1940-1965. Youngstown State University.
6. a, b DeBlasio, Donna M.; Pallante, Martha I., 2007. Youngstown State University: From YoCo to YSU. Arcadia Publishing.
7. a Skeggs, Leonard T. Jr., 2000. 2000 Edwin F. Ullman Award. American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
8. a Youngstown Vindicator, April 29, 2008. Years Ago. Vindicator Printing Company.
9. a Youngstown Vindicator, April 29, 1933. Former YMCA Leader Shoots Self in Tampa. Vindicator Printing Company.
10. a Youngstown Vindicator, May 5, 1933. Mourn Civic, Personal Loss in Death of Leonard Skeggs. Vindicator Printing Company.
11. a Youngstown Vindicator, May 8, 1933. City Honors 'Len' Skeggs. Vindicator Printing Company.
12. a Youngstown Vindicator, August 9, 1926. 70 More Leave For Camp FItch. Vindicator Printing Company.
1) The consensus was 1924, but the cited Vindicator Article in 1923 states that it has already happened
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