Shirley Skolos

Shirley Skolos

Shirley Skolos, former Citizen publisher, dies after battle with cancer

Well known for her enthusiasm and energy, Skolos succumbed early Aug. 21

The Cowichan Valley Citizen lost a great friend and supporter on Aug. 21 when Shirley Skolos succumbed after a battle with cancer.

Skolos was part of the team from the beginning, starting work May 25, 1986.

Duncan businessman Richard Odo was also a member of that group.

“Shirley and I were part of the start-up staff of the Citizen in the spring of 1986,” he recalled. “Her role was in the circulation department where she had to manage a revolving door of drivers and carriers, the majority of them being kids.

“She handled this role with patience and professionalism. I honestly can’t remember a time when she lost her cool.

“Later, as the publisher of the paper, as I signed over a hundred cheques bi-weekly for Shirley’s department, I realized what a treasure Shirley was. Our newspaper staff was less than 12 people and this had its challenges. Shirley managed over a hundred people with ease and dignity.

“Shirley was that member of the team that just went about her day and got the job done. The opposite of the squeaky wheel. The team player that understands her role and completes her tasks with efficiency and pride,” he said.

The Citizen moved forward as time passed, building esprit de corps as it went along.

“Our paper had a slo-pitch team in the early ’90s. While Shirley chose not to play on the field she was quite often there to watch us lose yet another game. Always a cheerleader for our team’s success, or lack of, on the ballfield, she was a valuable contributor to the success of the Citizen, from the start-up in 1986 until her retirement in 2017,” Odo said.

As the longest serving reporter still here at the newspaper, I agree with everything Odo says about our Shirley.

We’ve had trouble finding pictures of her because she never wanted to have her picture taken. She preferred to stay in the background.

But she was proud and happy when other staff members won honours, married, bought new cars, or had babies, and was always a gentle listener when personal troubles loomed.

That was her greatest strength: Shirley was a people person.

I can remember watching with admiration from my desk as she would talk with someone who came into the Citizen office with a complaint. She listened respectfully, then offered advice or a compromise or whatever would solve the problem. Invariably the irritation evaporated, and frequently the person was smiling when they left.

Shirley loved her work. Every day would find her in the office early, but she was never too busy to pop out of her office if she heard someone had come into the office with a new puppy or some little kids with entries to one of our colouring contests.

Even after she retired, she would occasionally drop in for a chat, always ready to hear the latest news.

We’ll miss you, Shirley. Happy trails. -30-