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"Uncle Bill"

My best friend died Saturday.

 

I'm still in a state of shock, as his passing was sudden and unexpected. His wife found him sitting on his couch, so hopefully it was peaceful.

 

But I can't come to grips with the fact that I'll never see him or talk to him again.

Bill Skinner was the best person I knew, other than my wife. We've been BFFs for 60 years, since we met as freshmen at Homestead High School.

 

He always wanted to be a doctor, and he turned out to be a great one. An internist with a vast repertoire of skills, he treated stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Gwyneth Paltrow.

 

Bill had a thriving practice, taught at his alma mater (USC Med School), served as a team physician for local sports teams, and mentored many young doctors.

 

Everyone relied on him for medical advice and support. His three brothers. His nieces. His patients. His friends. His friends' parents. His friends' children. He helped my parents, my wife, Christy's parents, and our daughters with advice and consultations more times than I can remember.

 

My kids called him "Uncle Bill," because they loved him and considered him a family member. He stayed in our house so often that we dubbed our fourth bedroom "the Skinner Suite."

 

Bill was the kind of guy who never could do enough for you. He was the most giving and generous person I've ever known.

 

And, man, was he extravagant. He would lavish expensive presents on his loved ones, treat them to dinner with $150 bottles of wine, rent a big house in Tahoe for his friends and famlly, make regular trips to Capri, and host sailing excursions in his boat.

 

His daughter, Madison (above left), was his pride and joy. She and I shared the same birthday, so I never had to worry that Bill might forget mine. I feel blessed that he and Madison stopped by our house for a visit two weeks ago on their way to a wedding.

 

And when I mentioned him in a recent column, confirming that his idol, Willie Mays, was better than mine, Mickey Mantle, he sent me a text: "I’m smiling! The Mick still has his supporters but Say Hey will always be my guy."

 

Bill Skinner will always be my guy. 

 

RIP, my dear friend. We'll miss you.

 

1 Comment


lrhunter
Jul 09

What a beautiful tribute to your friend. We should all be so lucky to have a friend like you to love us so truly, and with the ability to articulate that love so clearly when we leave this stage. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and i am sorry he is gone.

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Gary Cavalli - Bowl and League co-founder, author, speaker 

Gary Cavalli, the former Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University, was co-founder and executive director of the college football bowl game played in the Bay Area, and previously was co-founder and President of the American Basketball League.

Get in touch//@cavalli49//gacavalli49@gmail.com

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