Community loses an icon and legend

Written by Toni Lavigne-Conway | Special to the Valley Gazette

Long time Wilno resident Phil “Willard” Skebo, the man described as a friend to so many, died Jan. 30 at the age of 68. 

Born in Renfrew to parents Aurelia (Sullivan) and Ray Skebo, he was the second oldest of their four children, Kevin, Phil, Ron and daughter Pat. The couple met when Aurelia was working at a restaurant in Renfrew where Ray used to eat lunch. After they married and had their first two children, they made the move to Aurelia’s hometown of Killaloe, settling into a homestead on the same street as all her siblings (the Sullivan, Mullin, and Summers families).

According to Phil’s sister Pat, “we were so lucky to have such a unique childhood because we got to grow up “on the corner” with all our cousins. Phil absolutely loved his cousins and right to the end, they were a very important part of his life. ”

Pat mentioned her brother’s elementary years were spent at St. Andrew’s School in Killaloe where Pat says he was certainly mischievous. As far back as she can remember, her big brother showed a keen interest in all sports, especially hockey, and developed a knack for problem solving and fixing things. “He was such a capable and hard worker and honestly, when he put his mind to something, he could do anything. Even as a kid. I think he got that quality from both our parents.”

As a teenager, Phil attended Madawaska Valley District High School, where it is believed he inherited the nickname Willard that stuck like glue, so much so that many people believed it was his real name.
It was also the place he met and began dating Wilno native Sandy Borutski, the girl that his family all say was Phil’s one and only love. Since then, the pair have been together for 49 years and married for 37.

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