When walking into Skidmore’s Sports and Styles in Hampton Bays, one may never suspect the shy man behind the counter is one of the most involved and prominent people in the town.
George Skidmore, 76, who will be the grand marshal of the 8th annual Hampton Bays St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 24, has been a practically silent yet giant force in the community since graduating from Hampton Bays High School in 1953, according to his friends and coworkers.
Shortly after graduating high school, Skidmore was asked by the school’s coach to assist him in coaching youth baseball teams that summer. Ten years later, Skidmore helped establish an official Little League, the first of its kind in the town.
“He’s a quiet person with a huge heart and a love for Hampton Bays that I don’t think anyone could surpass,” said Wayne Allen, 60, who was 11 years old when he was coached by Skidmore. “If it wasn’t for George there wouldn’t have been a Little League at that time.”
Skidmore has been involved in the Little League for almost 60 years serving at one time as coach, secretary, president and assistant district administrator for District 36.
In 2000, a softball field at Hampton Bays Middle School was named after Skidmore due to his contributions to the sport. In the spring, Hampton Bays High School will also be dedicating an athletic field to him, said Skidmore.
John Ryan, chairman of the parade, which is sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians Michael Collins Division 11, said everybody in the area knows Skidmore because he’s the go-to man for the town.
“We look for someone who has contributed to the community and George stands out above and beyond,” said Ryan. “He’s a real gentleman and extremely charitable.”
Skidmore opened up shop at Skidmore’s Sports and Styles in 1972 and has been greeting customers ever since, said Ryan.
“It’s a real mom-and-pop sort of place,” said Ryan.
For 38 years, Skidmore has been a member of the Southampton branch of Kiwanis International, Inc., a charitable organization that helps underprivileged children all over the world. He has also served on the Hampton Bays Town Planning Board and Licensing and Review Board for eight years.
For his volunteerism, Skidmore became a Paul Harris Rotary Fellow in 2005.
“He’s such an active person in the community and you can always count on him,” said Allen.
Skidmore will lead the parade which kicks off at 11 a.m. on March 24 at Hampton Bays Elementary School on Ponquogue Avenue. The parade ends at the corner of Montauk Highway and Route 24 at the Hampton Atrium parking lot.
Skidmore said he is honored to be grand marshal and excited to the lead his town.
“I’m still surprised so many people know who I am” he said.
To the rest of the town, however, Skidmore is a well-known figure of Hampton Bays.
“I don’t think you’ll find a finer person in charity and service than George,” said Allen.