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Skidmore


ELKINS — Many group residents are recalling fond reminiscences about David “Chongo” Skidmore, a longtime Inter-Mountain gross sales consultant and beloved native disc jockey who handed away unexpectedly Tuesday.

Skidmore spent greater than 20 years on the airwaves in Elkins, offering the soundtrack for generations of native listeners on Saturday nights with “Chongo’s Rockin’ Oldies Show.”

“I’ve never known anybody who knew more about oldies than him,” mentioned Dick McGraw, former proprietor of Elkins radio stations WELK and WBTQ. “I’ve worked with a lot of people in my 50 years in broadcasting, but he was a reference book on two legs. A lot of the success we had with WELK and WBTQ was because he was part of our team.”

Skidmore was additionally the emcee for a lot of native occasions, and twice broadcast his present from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

“When I think of Chongo, one of the things that comes to mind is his mental ability to retain facts and minutiae of the radio and music industry” mentioned Brian Elliott of Edward Jones Financial Services of Elkins, who labored with Skidmore in radio for years.

“Today people can pull a lot of information up on a computer or a cell phone. Chongo had it in his head. It was just there on recall. He had so many facts and figures about the artists and how the songs came to be, just the interesting tidbits that made his show so popular. He was just a real talent.”

Skidmore started working as a DJ at 17, on the WCDE radio station at Davis & Elkins College, and later labored at WDNE in Elkins. Before entering into radio, he was a child who was an Inter-Mountain paper boy, and loved sports activities and being along with his pals.

“I knew him before he was Chongo. We called him David back then,” mentioned Ed Tyre of Elkins Builders Supply. “We performed baseball collectively. We’d get a recreation along with all the children within the neighborhood, a couple of times every week. In {the summertime}, we’d journey bikes.

“I was his locker mate from seventh grade to 11th grade, from junior high to Elkins High School. In senior year, seniors got their own locker,” Tyre mentioned. “I graduated with him in 1971. I’ve known him all these years. He was a heck of a fine person.”

Skidmore was given his uncommon nickname by the daddy of his childhood good friend, Mike Burke. Dr. Don Burke began jokingly calling Skidmore “Chongo,” which he mentioned meant “monkey.” The nickname caught and have become memorable throughout Skidmore’s radio profession.

Another of Skidmore’s classmates was Steve Herron, writer of The Inter-Mountain.

“David Skidmore was more than a co-worker to me,” Herron mentioned. “Our friendship goes again greater than 50 years once we have been in Elkins Junior High School collectively. So, not solely did the paper lose one in every of our most beneficial property, I personally misplaced a great good friend.

“There is no replacing Mr. Skidmore, as I would call him,” mentioned Herron, who graduated from Elkins High School with Skidmore. “He was one of a kind and those of us that had the opportunity to call him our friend are better people because of it.”

As a younger man Skidmore offered garments on the John B. Wilt Company retailer and offered vehicles on the Harry Webb Ford car dealership, each in Elkins. In highschool he labored at Faraway Hills, a restaurant and vacationer vacation spot situated off the Georgetown Road in Beverly.

But radio grew to become his calling. He joined the WELK employees in 1985 and rapidly attracted an viewers of listeners.

“Chongo was Chongo,” McGraw mentioned. “He would come out with what we called these Chongo-isms, these funny sayings he’d always have in his repertoire. He made a name for himself, not just on the radio but in the hearts of those of us who worked with him.”

During his radio profession, Skidmore emceed the Mountain State Forest Festival Talent Show, and launched many well-known acts on the MSFF Classic Rock Show, together with Three Dog Night.

While internet hosting his morning present on WBTQ and doing his Saturday oldies present on each WELK and WBTQ, Skidmore additionally offered promoting for the radio stations, utilizing his salesmanship skills.

“Chongo was just an extremely talented individual,” Elliott mentioned. “Usually there are personalities that can perform on air, or that can perform in the sales department. Chongo was able to bridge that gap and have an extremely popular and successful radio program, and still function very well on the sales side. He was a unique character that could do both.”

Skidmore was well-known for his work ethic, working part-time at Peebles for 15 years whereas additionally holding down a full-time job.

“Chongo worked for us almost 20 years. I used to have to beg him to take a vacation,” McGraw mentioned. “He was simply one of many extra pushed folks I’ve ever met. I feel he labored a lot as a result of he favored to be round folks. He was only a good, good man. He wasn’t simply an worker, he was a buddy.

“He was unflappable. I’ve never seen him get upset or down. He was just very level. He just seemed to really enjoy what he was doing.”

In 2005, Skidmore began at The Inter-Mountain, promoting promoting and constructing relationships along with his purchasers.

“When he came in a room, he just had this energy,” mentioned Tracy Fath of Davis Health System. “Everybody would type of gravitate to him. Always a gentleman, all the time skilled. Wow, what a loss.

“Chongo was really old school in his approach to sales and building a relationship with clients. I can’t name any other vendor who took the time to come to the office for a personal visit, if not every week then every other week,” Fath mentioned. “In this point in time, it’s really easy for folks to simply shoot out an electronic mail. But he would are available personally, and from coming in he knew us, and he knew what was a great match for us and what wasn’t. That solely occurs should you take the time to know your shopper. And that’s one thing I all the time appreciated.

“I remember, when (my family) restored an old farmhouse, I painted rooms to ‘Chongo’s Rockin’ Oldies Show.’ In our office we played the Beatles all day today as a tribute to him. We are all going to miss him very much.”

Skidmore’s professionalism, work ethic and character endeared him to the Inter-Mountain employees.

“I’ve worked with Chongo since 2005,” mentioned Michelle Smith, The Inter-Mountain’s promoting director. “He was so dependable and constant, and a really onerous employee. You might all the time depend on him, and he all the time gave an important effort.

“He always lightened the tone in the office by joking with everyone. He was very funny and very well-liked. He cared about his customers and always did his best for them. He was a very special person.”

“Chongo, as most people called him, was a professional in every sense of the word,” Herron mentioned. “In the 5 years that I’ve been again at The Inter-Mountain I by no means heard him complain one time, except he was joking a few co-worker if entrance of them.

“He was always one of the first staffers that showed up for work every day and many days he was the last one to leave the advertising office at the end of the day,” he mentioned. “To my knowledge Dave never missed a day of work due to being ill and he never used up all of his vacation days. I think the primary reason he never missed work was because he truly cared about his customers. His top priority every day was to present ideas to businesses and help them succeed.”

Skidmore was a member of St. Brendan Catholic Church in Elkins, the place he served as a reader of the liturgy.

He was honored as a United Way Volunteer of the Year, and was a first-degree member of the Knights of Columbus Elkins Council 603.

In 1987 he married his spouse, Linda, a former editor of The Inter-Mountain who now’s on the employees at Davis & Elkins College.

Skidmore’s dad and mom have been the late Ethel and Charles Skidmore.



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