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Ora Marie Skinner

Graveside services for Ora “Marie” Skinner, 78, Gamaliel, Arkansas, will be 2:00 p.m. Thursday, September 10, 2020, at the Howell Memorial Park Cemetery, under the direction of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.


Marie passed away Friday morning, September 4, with family at her bedside, following her second courageous battle with breast cancer. She was born November 17, 1941, in West Plains, Missouri, to James and Ada Bale.


Marie attended Hughlett (better known as Hideout) School, grades 1 through 5. She attended Riggs School for grades 6 through 8. Both one-room schoolhouses are located and still standing near Fanchon, Missouri.


Marie was a middle child and a tomboy. She loved to fish, climb trees, help out on the family farm, and play ball. She accepted Christ as her Savior at an early age at Elk Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where her father was an elder.


After graduating from West Plains High School in 1959, Marie left her hometown. She ventured to Kansas City with her art portfolio to pursue her dream of working at Hallmark. Marie’s dream came true. She designed and painted cards for Hallmark. While in Kansas City, she met and married Ron Brundige. From that union, a daughter was born, Carrie Lynn Brundige. After Marie’s marriage ended in 1965, she moved back to her hometown to raise Carrie with the help of her family.


Upon returning to West Plains, Marie went to work for First National Bank on the square. She remained at that location (through many bank name changes) for 33 years. She eventually became Real Estate Loan Supervisor, a position she held until her retirement. Marie finished her banking career after eight years at Community First Bank. She retired in 2006.


It’s true that a parent’s first priority is to be a parent. However, Marie and Carrie are proof that it is also possible to be great friends, too! They had many wonderful adventures together: catching moths, trying to catch a tarantula for show and tell (even though Carrie didn’t want it), fighting a grass fire, decorating home/church/bank for Christmas, bank Christmas parties, and on and on. However, for Marie, something, someone was missing.


In 1981, Marie met the love of her life, Lewis Thomas “Tom” Skinner, Sr. The timing could not have been better. Carrie would be leaving home to finish college soon. Marie was a loving, doting wife. She and Tom loved being outside, camping and fishing. Their favorite spot was Red Bank Campground in Gamaliel, AR, on Norfork Lake. They built their dream home there in 2002. They shared many adventures at the lake; fishing, surviving storms, picking up rock for their home, etc. Baiting hooks with nightcrawlers was an art for Marie!


Painting, cross stitching, anything artsy was Marie’s passion. She excelled at hand piecing and sewing quilts. She made numerous quilts, which she gifted to family and friends. Marie loved well, always putting others first. She was very proud of her family, her children and her grandchildren.


She is preceded in death by her loving father, James Bale; beloved mother, Ada Bale; two brothers, Charles Bale and Jimmy Bale (infant); one brother-in-law, Al Baker; and precious younger sister, Sylvia “Louise” Andrews.


Marie is survived by her loving husband of 37 years, Lewis Thomas “Tom” Skinner, Sr.; a daughter and her spouse, Carrie and Rick Windes; a sister, Barbara Baker; a sister-in-law, Betty Bale; a son by marriage and his spouse, Lewis Thomas “Tommy” Jr. and Jan Skinner; a daughter by marriage and her spouse, Orvella and Randy Blackburn; five granddaughters, Kelli and Kayla Windes, Shawna Conner, Angela DeWeese, and Sherry Uchtman; and a host of nieces and nephews, cousins, and other relatives and friends who will miss her very much.


Mrs. Skinner will lie in state from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, at Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.  Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 West Main, West Plains, MO  65775. Online condolences may be expressed at