Monique T. Skillings Conroy, 91
JUPITER, Fla. - Monique Skillings Conroy, 91, passed away peacefully on March 12, 2017, in Jupiter, where she was residing for the past three-plus years at Courtyard Gardens Assisted Living, located in the same town that her son and his wife, Gary and Donna Skillings, reside.
Monique was born on Feb. 28, 1926, in Biddeford, to Henry and Mary Gosselin, and was one of five sisters. She attended parochial schools, and on Feb. 14, 1947, married John Franklin Skillings of Bailey's Island and Scarborough, after he sold his lobster boat to buy her engagement ring and wedding band. They had met on the Old Orchard Beach Pier, and enjoyed many of the Big Brass Bands of that venue's heyday. In the early days of their marriage, Monique worked at the then quite popular employer Pepperell Mills in Biddeford.
Soon it was time to start their family, and in the 1950s they adopted a baby girl, Gail, to be followed three years later by the adoption of Gary. They eventually made their homestead at 215 Route 1, Oak Hill, in the "house with the stone porch" named "Greystone," now located just to the right of McDonalds.
While raising her two children, as a homemaker Monique became quite well-known for running her own (back then, rather unregulated) daycare where she cared for 30 or so children over a period of 10 years, giving her much gratification as well as appreciation from their parents. Prior to that, she had worked periodically at the Herman Shoe factory in Scarborough.
In 1984, Monique suffered the early loss of her beloved husband John at his young age of 58. He had worked as an oil heating technician for years at Urqhart's in Scarborough and later chartered his own business. Her good family and friends carried her spirits and she remained quite active and regained happiness, finding pleasure as a member of a women's bowling team at the Big 20, which she enjoyed immensely, along with many other activities and adventures. She also enjoyed basking in the sun at Ferry Beach with a number of her lady friends or sitting on her stone porch in Oak Hill. She shared many great times visiting with her grandchildren and enjoyed them immensely.
In 1988, Monique was blessed again to marry a lifelong family friend and one of John's closest friends and business associates, John F. "Jack" Conroy, "The Mayor" of Pine Point. Together, they traveled back and forth to Florida and other fun places and made many more great memories (we can tell you our Dad would have approved 100%). Jack passed away in 1999 after 11 years of marriage. From 1999 to October of 2013, Monique remained in her home at Oak Hill, and in those years before dementia set in, enjoyed some other travel experiences, volunteered in soup kitchens, was a lifelong communicant at St. John's Catholic Church in South Portland and then St. Maximilian's in Scarborough, volunteering in many activities there.
By then she also was enjoying her great-grandchildren, especially those nearby in Lewiston.
She lived in her home in Oak Hill for over 50 years before her increas-ing dementia condition prevented her from living alone any longer. We then brought her to Florida to reside at Courtyard Gardens Assisted Living in Jupiter. She spent her remaining days there.
We would visit her regularly, where she would beg us to take her for a ride to the Jupiter Inlet (her Florida version of Ferry Beach in Scarborough), where we would often enjoy her favorite simple McDonalds quarter-pounder with cheese and a chocolate shake and watch boats go by, boating an activity she and her first husband John enjoyed during the summer months. We had loaded a multitude of her old 1950s and 1960s 45s music favorites from the old Oak Hill homestead into my iPhone and would BlueTooth them over the car stereo for her sentimental listening pleasure, songs like "Primrose Lane," "Seven Little Girls," "Lonely Street," "Downtown," "To Sir With Love," "The Old Rugged Cross," "Everybody Loves Somebody Some-times" and "Years." It would amaze us that despite her dementia, she would whistle "Singing the Blues" and recite the words verbatim to that or any other old familiar songs from her "days in the sun." Those moments will remain as one of our favorite memories of her last years.
Monique is survived by her daughter, Gail Skillings LaBelle, of Lewiston; her son, Gary Skillings and his wife Donna, of Jupiter; six grandchildren: Darren Clukey, Justin and Joshua LaBelle, Sarah Skillings Makofske, Brede and Brianna Skillings; and 10 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents; her two husbands, John F. Skillings and John F. Conroy; and her four sisters, Rita, Pauline, Madeline, and Jean.
We would like to thank the many people who played a part in her life, in various chapters of her life, loving her, supporting her, and being such a good friend. An unintentionally partial list follows and respectfully includes some who have already passed on: Doris Norton, Clare and John Gambino, Helen Brown, Sylvia Fengler, Dick Foley, Bob Foley, Florette Henderson, Kenneth and Keith Fengler, Rose Russell, Jane and Willis Moulton, John and Jim Conroy and the entire Conroy family; Jalauren Shay, Steve Chamberlain, Dellie Moulton, all the ladies of the Pine Point Auxiliary, all the parents of the children she took care of and loved over the years during her humble day care service, Larry and Joyce Jensen, Bruce and Barbara Turner, Rob Moulton, Scarborough Police and Fire Department who checked in on or attended to her, Meals on Wheels, everyone at Courtyard Gardens in Jupiter, everyone who attended to her at Pavilion Hospice in Jupiter, and St. Mary's Hospital physicians and staff in West Palm Beach who attended to her in her last days.
There will be a Catholic Mass and reception in May on a date to be determined. Further notice will be published in this section.
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Mar. 19, 2017