John Skehan, one of the University's most faithful workers who has labored here for over half a century and spent the last forty years keeping the Yard in good condition died yesterday of a severe cold and heart trouble at his home at 21 Fairview Avenue, Belmont after a week's illness. He is survived by his wife, five children and several grandchildren.
On March 4 a large group of College officials headed by President Conant and including Colonel Charles R. Apted '06, presented Skehan with a meerschaum amber pipe in commemoration of his fiftieth anniversary of service.
Skehan spent the first 32 years of his life in Ireland and the Middle West where he knocked about in Kansas for three years following his arrival from the old country in 1882. It was not until 1885 that he got a job in Cambridge. He always maintained that it "was the greatest mistake of my 72 years of life" when he came to work for the University.
His job for 30 years as official pumper of the Appleton Chapel organ gave him a good deal of anxiety for fear that the old bellows would leak faster than he could pump. "Many a drop of sweat I left in that old tower," he used to tell his grandchildren.