Originally published Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 06:05a.m.

Carpenter, pilot, cropduster, draftsman, contractor, veteran, paratrooper, published writer and poet Vaun Skellenger died early March 31, 2018 at the age of 77. His death was premature and due largely to the lack of funding and personnel in the Veterans Affairs Medical System. Words cannot describe the tremendous loss to our family and community with the death of this brilliant, warm-hearted and generous man. Vaun was born July 14, 1940 to Frances A and Lila Kistner Skellenger in Menomonie, Wisconsin. He grew up in the Seattle area and was captivated from an early age by the aircraft at nearby Boeing. He had a lifelong love affair with flight, serving in the 101st Airborne Division, skydiving, and cropdusting for 25 years. An avid woodworker and craftsman, he worked many years as a framer, a cabinetmaker and a furniture builder.

He loved designing custom homes, teaching himself to use AutoCad computer design programs in his sixties after falling from a roof without a parachute. He donated time and materials to a number of veteran-related causes and individuals. Vaun is survived by his wife, K. Leigh Simmons Skellenger; sisters Joyce Miller and Mary Wald; brothers Jay and Daniel Skellenger; a grandson, Brandon Yager (Erin); a granddaughter, Julia Rowan Gibbons (Josh); and three great-grandchildren as well as a large number of nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents; his daughter, Beth Ann Rowan; and one granddaughter, Elizabeth Rowan. The body that Vaun used in his varied and interesting careers has been donated to Science Care in the hopes of gaining knowledge to help others suffering from cancer.

A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, April 21 at 11 a.m. at the Latter-Day Saints church at 7885 E Long Look Drive in Prescott Valley. An inurnment ceremony will take place at the Prescott National Cemetery at a time to be announced.

Thanks are due to the Northern Arizona All Airborne Chapter as well as members of the Glassford Hill Ward of the LDS church who have given time, energy and support during this difficult time. Vaun worked hard to help create the Book Haven in Prescott Valley. Please honor his memory by helping it stay alive through this loss.

Information provided by survivors.