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Ex-Rep. Jim Skelly of Scottsdale dies at 81

Jim Skelly was a staunch conservative and ardent opponent of abortion who served in the Arizona House of Representatives for 20 years. He died on Nov. 3 at the age of 81.

Despite his strong-held views, Skelly didn’t take himself seriously. He thoroughly relished participating in heated floor debates, but after the debate was over, win or lose, he was ready to kid around with colleagues who were as liberal as he was conservative.

0008473834-02-1_20151104Evidence of his sense of humor was on display in his legislative office. He had a large map of Arizona on the wall behind his desk, and pasted over Phoenix, where he and fellow lawmakers convened, was a mug of Bozo the Clown.

Skelly, a Scottsdale Republican, was elected in 1970 and retired in 1990. He was a long-time chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and presided over a feisty impeachment hearing for then-Gov. Evan Mecham in 1988. Skelly voted for impeachment.

Skelly was born in New York City and grew up in east Yonkers, N.Y. He and his family moved to Arizona in 1963. His wife of 56 years, Joan, passed away in 2012. Skelly is survived by his sons, Chris and Jim, and his grandchildren, Mary Margaret, Matt, Theresa, Claire, Joe, Danny and John.

A visitation/rosary was scheduled Nov. 6, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Messinger Indian School Mortuary, 7601 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale, with a funeral mass Nov. 7 at 10 a.m., at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help, 7655 E Main St., Scottsdale.

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