July 16, 1892|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||October 3, 1955
near Union City, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Cause of death||Airplane crash|
|Resting place||Saint Mary's Cemetery|
|Employer||The Great Lakes Coal & Coke Company|
(m. 1918–1955; their deaths)
|Parent(s)||James Curtis Skakel Sr. and Grace Mary Jordan|
|Relatives||William Skakel (brother), Margaret Skakel (sister), James Curtis Skakel Jr. (brother)|
George Skakel Sr. (July 16, 1892 – October 3, 1955) was an American businessman and the founder of Great Lakes Carbon Corporation, currently part of SGL Carbon.
Early life and career
Skakel was born in Chicago, Illinois, to businessman James Curtis Skakel Sr. (1860–1947) and Grace Mary Jordan (1858–1936), who were Protestants of Dutch ancestry. He had an elder brother William Skakel (1888–1946), a younger sister Margaret Skakel (1894–1983), and a younger brother James Curtis Skakel Jr. (1899–1984).
Skakel began his career as a railroad shipping clerk earning $8 a week. While employed by the railroad, he noticed the price volatility of coal fines for coke, which is a byproduct of producing more-in-demand forms of coal. At most times, the coal mining companies were forced to store the coke or pay to have it disposed of in rivers. Skakel came up with an idea to purchase the coke from coal companies. In May 1919, Skakel and two partners put up $1,000 and established The Great Lakes Coal & Coke Company. The company would purchase the coke from coal companies and then reprocessed the coke into clean carbon which was used to produce aluminum. By 1929, Skakel had become a multi-millionaire. The business eventually grew into The Great Lakes Carbon Corporation, which became the one of the largest privately held corporations in the United States. After Skakel's death in 1955, his sons George Jr. (who also died in a plane crash, in 1966) and James III took over the business.
Skakel married his former secretary Ann Brannack (1892–1955) in 1917. They had seven children:
- Georgeann Skakel Dowdle-Terrien (October 15, 1918 – August 25, 1983)
- James Curtis Skakel III (May 3, 1921 – April 25, 1998)
- George Skakel Jr. (August 4, 1922 – September 23, 1966)
- Rushton Walter Skakel (October 5, 1923 – January 2, 2003), father of Thomas and Michael Skakel
- Patricia Sistine Skakel Cuffe (1925–2000)
- Ethel Skakel Kennedy (born April 11, 1928) would go on to marry Robert F. Kennedy in June 1950.
- Ann Skakel McCooey (born February 14, 1933).
On October 3, 1955, Skakel and his wife Ann were killed when the private plane they were traveling in crashed near Union City, Oklahoma. The two are buried at Saint Mary's Cemetery in Greenwich, Connecticut. From January 2, 2003, of his seven children, only Ethel Kennedy and Ann McCooey survive.
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- (David 1971, p. 226)
- Rancho Palos Verdes - Ginger Garnett Clark - Google Books
- Fight of the Century - Timothy Dumas - Google Books
- Murder in Greenwich - Mark Fuhrman, Stephen Weeks - Google Books
- Robert Kennedy and His Times - Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. - Google Books