Former Director of Business Affairs, John Skewes ’51 TU’56, is remembered for his services to the college and the city
Skewes, who died March 27, served under four Dartmouth presidents and worked for a number of community organizations in Hanover.
by Varun Swaminathan | 5/26/23 5:00 am
Source: Courtesy of David Skewes
Throughout his life, John Greenslade Skewes ’51 TU ’56 had a “peaceful” attitude that, according to his son David Skewes, had a profound effect on everyone around him.
“He was one of the nicest people I’ve ever known,” said his son, David Skewes. “Everyone who knew him loved him.”
Skewes, who died March 27, was director of business affairs at the college and led and founded several organizations in Hanover. According to his online obituary, Skewes is survived by two sons, two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was 93 years old.
According to David Skewes, Skewes was heavily involved in city life. He founded the Hanover Youth Hockey Association, served as President of the Hanover Improvement Society, was a member of the Hanover and Dresden School Boards and the Hanover Board of Selectmen. Skewes also served as chairman of the Hanover Inn Board of Overseers, ran the Hanover Water Works Company, and was involved in the Hanover Rotary Club. In 1993, Skewes was named Hanover’s citizen of the year.
Skewes was born in Claremont, New Hampshire in 1929 and moved to Concord, Massachusetts for his senior year of high school before graduating in 1946.
Born and raised in Granite Stater, who attended Dartmouth football and track as a child, Skewes never had any doubts about where he wanted to study, he said in a 2003 interview.
“I’ve been a Dartmouth fan since I was a kid,” said Skewes. “I just never thought of anything else.”
Dartmouth was the only school he applied to, and according to Skewes’ interview, he was “partially recruited” to play football by backfield coach Milton Piepul. While at university, Skewes studied history and founded Dartmouth’s first rugby team.
“[John Skewes and other students] “I started the rugby program because there was a tournament in Bermuda,” said David Skewes. “They thought it would be a great excuse to go to Bermuda for spring break, which was one of his fondest memories.”
After graduating from Dartmouth in 1951, Skewes enlisted “along with three other friends” from college and served as an officer during the Korean War. While on leave from officer candidate school, Skewes met his wife, Constance, in Concord. David Skewes recalled his father’s story when he met his mother at the department store where she was working at the time.
“He walked up to her and said, ‘Do you want to go to a hockey game?’ to which she replied, ‘With who?’ and he said ‘with me’, and that was her introduction,” said David Skewes.
According to David Skewes, ice hockey was an important part of Skewes’ life. He was his son’s hockey coach and would take his team to Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery – then owned by his friend and founder Lou Bressett – after practice.
“I’d still be in my hockey gear with my dad at the counter, having a Lous Crullers and a cup of hot chocolate,” said David Skewes. “I would say that’s one of my fondest memories.”
John Hochreiter, who succeeded Skewes as president of the Hanover Improvement Society and a member of the Rotary Club of Hanover, remembered Skewes as “confident, energetic, and one of the brightest people I’ve ever met.”
According to Hochreiter, Skewes had a “valuable” connection to the Hanoverian community, adding that Skewes engineered “the next two presidents” of the Hanover Improvement Society by “putting his arm around him and saying, ‘Wouldn’t you like to do that?’ “ ”
Skewes helped the Rotary Club develop a better relationship with the college, Hochreiter said. As a member of the college administration, he moderated the conversations that, according to Hochreiter, gave Rotary a “town-clothes relationship.”
“[Skewes] I’ve always believed in the rotating traditions of service above oneself,” Hochreiter said.
Skewes never forgot the lifelong friends he made in Dartmouth. He could still remember the names of his classmates eighty years after graduating when he met and sat with old friends at football games in Dartmouth, said David Skewes.
“It’s quite a beautiful legacy,” he said.
Every time Skewes left Hanover, he found his way back. After graduating from the Tuck School of Business in 1956, he and Connie temporarily relocated to Connecticut. According to David Skewes, the couple eventually found they couldn’t justify living in Connecticut, even though they wanted to spend their time in New Hampshire.
When asked what was keeping Skewes in Hanover, David Skewes replied, “Dartmouth.”
“He just loved college,” said David Skewes. “He walked to work. He just knew the place so well and he loved being part of this community.”