Lucille Middleton McPherson Skellie

lucille middleton skellie

November 23, 1923 ~ March 12, 2021

Born in: Peoria, IL
Resided in: Decatur, GA

Lucille Middleton McPherson Skellie, 97, of Decatur, GA, passed away at home on March 12, 2021. She was preceded in death by Fred A. Skellie Jr, her beloved husband of 70 years. Born in Peoria, IL, Lucille lived in 23 cities before she was 19 because her father worked as a troubleshooter for Goodyear. She enjoyed childhood adventures with her older siblings Edwin and Lillian Anne. At age 14, she met Fred,17, at Long Beach High School on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, when a typical date was a nickel Coca-Cola and a stroll along the seawall by the beach. “I was a cheap date!” Lucille liked to announce. They were married at St. Peter’s-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Gulfport, MS on March 29,1943. During WWII, while Fred served as a navigator aboard the destroyer USS Rodman, Lucille worked numerous temporary jobs. Whenever she learned that he was returning to a port, she would quit her job and travel to meet him. After the war, Fred qualified as a Certified Public Accountant and began working for Rich’s Department Store in Atlanta, GA. Lucille and Fred settled in nearby Decatur, where they lived for the rest of their lives. A devoted couple, their loving marriage set a wonderful example for their three children. Lucille loved to laugh and nicknamed herself Lu “Silly.” She leaves a legacy of kindness, humor, encouragement, and hospitality. She loved her family and friends, and had a knack for welcoming children into their home. When she played with her children or grandchildren, her joy and unexpected sense of fun kicked in. On rainy days, she might assign her children activity choices: yellow rain slickers for mud puddle splashing or roller skates for circling the basement. Whenever she and Fred played hide and seek with their granddaughters, or she baked an alligator birthday cake for her 4-year-old grandson, giggles of delight followed. Employing her renowned green thumb, Lucille created azalea-filled gardens and thriving indoor plants. She sewed fashionable clothes for her daughter’s dolls, attended her sons’ ballgames, played the piano for her children as they fell asleep (just as her Mama had), dabbled in water colors, and golfed with Fred. Additionally, she kept up with current events by reading both Atlanta newspapers cover to cover each day. Lucille and Fred loved dancing to big-band swing music, enjoying shrimp creole, most anything to do with boating, watching birds perch on the feeder near their kitchen window, and walking at least one mile nearly every day. They excelled at hosting large parties, bringing family and friends together. “She was my ‘second mother,’ and never seemed flustered,” her daughter-in-law said. “She was a thoughtful and adaptable hostess,” her son explained, “preparing vegetarian or heart-healthy meals, according to her guest list.”
Besides entertaining in Decatur, Lucille and Fred created memories in their mountain home on Lake Blue Ridge. While Fred patiently helped guests learn how to ski, Lucille might explore Toccoa Cove in “Lu Lu” the canoe. Or, she might bake a cobbler from freshly picked blackberries, and top each serving with Fred’s favorite ice cream. When Fred retired and opened his own tax consulting and estate planning business, Lucille worked with him preparing tax returns so they could travel the world during the off season. They also enjoyed road trips across the United States and decades of family reunions on the Gulf Coast.
Lucille and Fred were longtime, active members of Druid Hills United Methodist Church, serving on numerous committees. Lucille volunteered for the American Red Cross, was a member of the Rhododendron Club, the Heaton Park Garden Club, and numerous bridge clubs. Lucille is survived by two sons, Bert Skellie (Karen), and Don Skellie (Elizabeth); a daughter, Nancy Gerhardt (Gary, deceased); 8 grandchildren and 9 great- grandchildren; generations of nieces, nephews, and cousins; and lifelong friend Carol Mitchell. Memorial contributions may be made to Neighborhood Church (includes former Druid Hills UMC) or to the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be expressed at The family thanks the extraordinary caregivers at King’sBridge Assisted Living Community and the exceptional medical team and staff at Longleaf Hospice.

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Memories Timeline


  1. CandleImageDear Bert and family,
    What an exciting, well lived life. You are so blessed to have called her mother. My deepest condolences as you recall the joys of being her son. Your compassion and caring for your fellow man is so apparent from the childhood you had.

  2. CandleImageDear Bert,

    What a wonderful mother! It was so uplifting for me to read about her. I plan to join the on-line service tomorrow. I am so sorry that you no longer have her with you in person. I know you will always have her with you in your heart.
    I am blessed to be your friend.

  3. CandleImageDear Bert, Don,Nancy and sweet family,

    I was so happy when my brother Fred married Lucille- I had another precious big sister. When they settled in Atlanta, I loved our family visits with.A favorite fun thing was all of us playing “Spoons”- a wild and noisy table game. Lucille was always sunny and happy. I loved her cute and sweet giggle. After David and I married and moved to Chamblee, we were able to spend more time with them. How blessed we were to have Lucille in our lives. We loved her so much.
    Love you all, Aunt Anne and family

  4. To all the family and friends of Lucille,

    First, please accept my condolences. It is so difficult to lose a parent/grandparent (I don’t think it matters what age) and you were all so blessed to have come into the world and live in her loving arms. I can see here and glean from the family stories that I heard today that she was a very loved mother, grandmother, aunt and friend. I did not know her as well as some of you but I always admired her twinkle, her spunk, and her free spirit. She was such a lovely person to me. My own mother once told me that when someone passes, you can ask for one of their attributes. I don’t know if that is true but I always do it anyway. From Lucille, I am going to ask for her kindness–I aspire to be as kind as she was. I will always smile when I think of her. She was really one-of-a-kind. I am so sorry for your loss, but also so happy for you all because she blessed your lives and made them better as she did mine. Send virtual love and hugs from San Diego, CA.

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