Former Democratic Representative and Wentworth Alumnus, Congressman Ike Skelton passed away yesterday at the age of 81.
“The Wentworth family has lost a dear friend and a great alumnus,” said Colonel Mike Lierman, President of Wentworth Military Academy and College, in an official statement on behalf of the 134-year old institution.
“Congressman Skelton loved Wentworth Military Academy and College. He never forgot his experience here and how it affected his life. We appreciate Ike and everything that he stood for. He always worked hard to represent our institution and all military junior colleges giving young men and women more opportunities to find success. He was a great Missourian and a great supporter of all the people that he represented.”
“The Board of Trustees and the entire Wentworth Military Academy and College community extends our sympathies to his wife, Patty, his family and friends and the countless Americans who join us in mourning Congressman Skelton’s passing,” Col. Lierman went on to say.
Skelton attended high school at Wentworth Military Academy in 1945. He returned to attend Wentworth Military Junior College in 1949 and graduated in 1951.
Skelton was awarded the Ralph Conger Memorial Sportsmanship Award in 1949-50 after competing in track even though he had polio. He discussed the event in his recent biography, “Achieve the Honorable: A Missouri Congressman’s Journey from Warm Springs to Washington”:
“I cut an unusual figure because both of my arms were taped to my sides and my fists were inserted into slits in my running shorts, securing them from flailing around while I ran.
A snapshot of me in this configuration, running on the track toward the camera, is a treasured Skelton family momento….I drew confidence from it.”
Congressman Skelton was inducted into the Wentworth Military and College Athletic hall of fame in 2004.
A recipient of many national awards and honors, Congressman Skelton recently received the Sylvanus Thayer Award from the West Point Association of Graduates at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The award is presented to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to ideals expressed in the West Point motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.”