PORTLAND — Cora L. Skilling, or as she was known to all of us who loved her, Mom, Mum, Gram or Meme, 83, of Gray, passed away peacefully at Maine Medical Center on Friday, April 28, while surrounded by her loving family, from complications of a broken heart. Always inseparable in life, she rejoined Bobby, her husband of 62 years, (almost 63), in Heaven, three days after his passing.

Cora was born on June 20, 1933, to Victor and Hortense Leach. She proudly resided in Gray her entire life. Cora graduated from Pennell Institute in 1951. She worked for Canal Bank, Casco Bank, the Gray Superintendent’s Office, and as a bookkeeper for her husband‘s business, Robert A. Skilling & Sons Excavation. She also volunteered tirelessly for her kids’ teams and schools, and at other local causes true to her heart, like the Dry Mills One-Room Schoolhouse and the Gray Congregational Women’s Fellowship. Her greatest accomplishment in life and what she was most proud of was that she was a wonderful wife, the world’s best mother to her five boys and a loving, nurturing grandmother and great-grandmother.

Where Mom loved to be the most was at her home on Skilling Road. She raised her family, along with Bobby, at her home, which we all referred to as “the Farm.” To her, it was so much more; it was her mansion. There, she ruled the roost. Her house was always immaculately cleaned, not an easy task considering she worked full time and was raising her five boys.

Somehow, every day she made everyone’s beds, fed the family three full meals, made sure all the dishes and windows were washed and always had one of her several vacuums running, not to mention a load in the washer and one headed for the clothesline. Her boys and any other child present never left the house without a thoroughly scrubbed face.

Cora was also the person responsible for making sure the boys never missed a practice, game or school event. She proudly attended all of her grandchildren’s sporting events, no matter the distance from home. She was the first one in the car, often traveling throughout New England to see their soccer and basketball games. If you were lucky enough to be her son or grandchild, you always knew she was there, because you could hear her voice in your corner, above the rest of the crowd. Being a woman of many talents, Cora was also the barber for Bobby and her boys. There was never a time that you would enter her house and not be able to find a glass container of homemade cookies or a cake or pie. “The Farm” was always the favorite hangout for the neighborhood kids. Cora was very unselfish and everyone else’s needs always came first. Cora had the world’s most beautiful skin, so she never needed to wear makeup, and didn’t often buy clothes for herself; that way, her boys always had what they needed. After her kids were grown, Mum let Pop begin to spoil her by buying her some jewelry, which she planned to pass down to her daughters-in-law and her grandchildren.

She enjoyed her daily outings with Bobby to the Gray Marketplace, the post office, grabbing coffee and a muffin with Ann Cobb and going to the local banks. In recent years, she eagerly looked forward to enjoying her coffee times with Judy O Brien, Bernie and the boys. They were regulars at bean suppers. She loved to dance and listen to music. Cora and Bobby were season ticket holders at the Maine State Music Theatre and gave season tickets to all their sons and their spouses. Together, Cora and Bobby enjoyed going on both bus and train trips, the occasional cruise or road adventure. They visited many places including Branson, the Grand Ole Opry, the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Alaska and Hawaii, or just tooled around Gray on their Harley Trike. Some of their favorite adventures were car trips to Florida with their best friends, the Qualeys, or simply visiting with her lifelong friend, Audrey Burns.

Cora will be greatly missed by her sons, their spouses and her children, grandchildren and her five great-grandchildren. She will also be missed by her extended family, many friends and the townspeople of Gray. Mum always stressed the importance of being a family, eating supper together nightly as a family, and big breakfasts and lunches together on Sundays. She regularly told her five boys that in the end, your brothers are the ones who will always be there to stand by your side to support you. After we lost you, Mom, we see just how important that lesson is. We will all miss you and love you forever!

The family would like to give special thanks to the Gray Rescue Service and the nurses at Maine Medical Center for all their care over the years, and most recently, the ER and fourth-floor doctors, nurses and chaplain for their compassion in this difficult time. They would also like to extend their thanks to Jason Wilson, a lifelong friend to the entire family, for his compassion and support.

Cora was predeceased by her father, Victor; her mother, Hortense; and her brother, Gene Leach.

She is survived by her sons and spouses, Bruce and Kathi, Brad and Donna of Gray, Barry and Becky of Auburn, Brian and Bernie, Blaine and Peter of Gray; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Condolences may be expressed at www.wilsonfhllc.com.

Cora Leach Skilling

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