Walter Henry Skonitzki, (SFC, US Army, Ret) a resident of Dothan, died Wednesday, October 17, 2012. He was 94.
Funeral services will be held 2:30 p.m. Sunday, October 21, 2012 at Byrd Funeral Home on West Main Street. Burial with full military honors will follow at Memory Hill Cemetery with Byrd Funeral Home on West Main Street directing. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 2:00 p.m. Sunday until service time.
Mr. Skonitzki was born December 10, 1917, in Datteln, Germany which was formerly part of Prussia. He was the third child out of four and the oldest boy. His father died when he was three years old and at the age of five, Walter was putting on plays and puppet shows for the neighborhood children and charging them a few pennies admission. This money he gave to his mother. At five, he was going house to house selling Christmas cards and selling ice cream and apples on the corner. At twelve, he worked for a bakery before school taking loaves of bread to various restaurants. Of course all the money he made was for his mother. At fourteen, he had to quit school and start working in the coal mines.
Walter did not agree with Hitler's policy and knew he had to escape so he stowed away on a ship in April of 1939 to come to America where he lived in New York City and Ohio. He joined the Army in April of 1943 and was a cook in the Pacific Campaign for WWII. The next war he was a part of was the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He retired in April of 1968 at the rank of E7. After the Army, he spent 10 years in civil service at Ft. Rucker. Always mindful of his mother, he would send her part of his pay until she died in December of 1962.
Mr. Skonitzki was a member of the VFW and cooked many weekends at the lake for them. He loved camping and going to the beach. Every Thursday he would go to Hunt's bar to play dominos with the other older men. Walter Skonitzki will be greatly missed by his family; he has outlived all his friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Florence Skonitzki, both parents, and all of his siblings.
Survivors include his children, Donna Ney of Dothan, AL, Mark Skonitzki of Pinckard, AL, and Trudy Gregory of Hamilton, IL; five grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.