In the heat of summer and the peak season for patriotism, University Park has named Bill Skelton “Citizen of the Year.”
The honoree, who moved to University Park with his family in the early 1990s, sits on the city’s Park Advisory Committee. He’s also a past president of La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas and the Friends of the University Park Library.
“I feel very pleased that I was able to work with a group that had worked for a long time to develop the library,” Skelton said. “And now we have a brand-new building and a library that’s a part of the city, so I feel very good about that.”
There’s one other community service project Skelton got involved in that was a bit more unexpected. Over the years, he found himself serving as “director of bus shuttle operations” at Highland Park United Methodist Church.
“One of the ministers asked me if I would start a shuttle bus system to the SMU campus,” he said of the project meant to last one year. “I did it for 11 years, and it’s still going. That turned out to be very rewarding.”
The author of Skelton’s nominating letter noted his “steadfast leadership” and “strong sense of fairness” as deserving qualities. Others have noticed the same attributes, especially regarding his work on the Park Advisory Committee.
“I can’t think of a more deserving individual, based on his commitment,” UP parks director Gerry Bradley said. “He’s a great guy, and very personable, and is very proud of the community.”
Skelton, a senior vice president at Southwest Securities, has three children, who all went through Highland Park ISD, from Husky to Scot. The school system is what made him choose UP as his home in the first place.
“Having lived four or five different places when we came here, we thought, ‘What a great place to raise a family,’ ” Skelton said.
His commitment to the community and long volunteer hours have paid off. He rode in the Park Cities Fourth of July Parade and was honored with a plaque and gift at the Goar Park gazebo. Before that, he and his wife, Zora, had to trek back down from their summer trip to Cape Cod in the family car. Believe it or not, bits of University Park make the drive with them.
“It’s 2,000 miles, and we do it in two days,” he said. “We get books on CD or download them from the library. We’re on our schedule.”