Long Time New York Car Dealer Roger J. Skinner Passes Away at 72

Roger Jay Skinner, 72, of Whitesboro, New York who was raised in Richfield Springs and operated the Skinner & Damulis Chevrolet and Jeep auto dealership here for decades, passed away on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.

Roger was born on March 28, 1948, in Herkimer, son of the late Hiram J. and Leanor (Helmer) Skinner.

On July 27, 1968, he married Mary L. Kitts in Richfield Springs, his childhood sweetheart. They met in the kindergarten class at the Richfield Springs School. They were soulmates and best friends. The couple enjoyed a blessed and adventurous life together of nearly 53 years.

In addition to his wife, survivors include Melanie Kimball and husband James Kimball and their daughter, Sahara Rose Kimball who shared the same birthday; Cynthia and husband Samuel Lamanna III, and their children, Victoria Leogrande who he shared his loving heart, and her husband Christian Leogrande and Samuel Roger Jay “RJay” Lamanna IV who shared his name; Sarah and husband Michael Demarse and their son Brady Elias Demarse who shared the twinkle in his eye.

Roger also leaves behind his oldest sister Carol Ann Dingman and husband Ken of Winter Garden, FL. As loving and supportive siblings, Carol and Roger were always there for each other.  Also survived by his sister, Marie Guerra and husband Vincent. Even at a young age, Roger always considered it his duty to protect Marie, whom he loved dearly. Also surviving are nieces, great-nephews, and many cousins who Roger considered dear friends and a blessing.

Roger operated Skinner Sales in Herkimer and Skinner & Damulis in Richfield Springs.

He was a graduate of Clarkson College with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and Distribution. He also received an associate degree from Fulton Montgomery Community College.

He was a plant manager manager at Niagara Mohawk for 14 years, then joined the family auto dealership in Richfield Springs. One year later, he opened the second dealership in Herkimer with two of his daughters.

Among his honors were nomination of the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award, and he served the National Automobile Dealers Association board for years.

He was a 40-year Rotarian, following his father Hiram Skinner and his father-in-law, Edward Kitts, lifelong Rotary Club members. He was President and Assistant District Governor of Rotary, and was active, including as director of “Books for the World,” which sends books to third-world countries. Roger lived by the motto of the Rotary Club, “Service Over Self”.

He was on the board of the Folts Homes in Herkimer, a Herkimer village trustee, and on the board of directors of Herkimer County BOCES, Herkimer County Community College, and both the Herkimer County and Otsego County Chamber of Commerce.

Active in the Red Cross, serving on the board of directors and receiving its Great Heroes “Man of the Year” Award.  He donated blood frequently until ill health would no longer allow it.

Please consider a memorial contribution to “The Roger Skinner Books for the World Fund, c/o AmeriCU Bank, 326 E State St, Herkimer, NY 13350.

Roger J. Skinner was always looking to make the world and his corner of New York a better place.
He would often say, “It’s a beautiful day in the Mohawk Valley”.

Roger and his family’s care has been placed in the trust of Mohawk Valley Funerals and Cremations, 7507 State Route 5 (corner of Bidelman Road), Little Falls, 315-508-5131. A memorial service will take place at the convenience of the Skinner family. There are no calling hours.

Source: Roger J. Skinner, 72; Raised In Richfield, Ran Auto Dealership