Tom attended OU where he received his BS in Business Management and then joined the Air Force in 1949. He received his MA in Economics from Clemson University. He pinned on his Air Force pilot’s wings in 1951 at Vance AFB, his Senior Pilot Wings in 1958 in Seoul, Korea and his Command Pilot Wings in Auckland, New Zealand in 1966. Skillman was a flight instructor from 1951-57, a professor of Aerospace Studies at Clemson University (1959-62), Arnold Air Society project officer at Maxwell AFB (1962-64), an instructor at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Command and staff College (1965-68), operations training officer in Vietnam (1968-69), MAC Air Force Pilot at Robins AFB (1969-71), Defense Air Attache in LaPaz, Bolivia (1971-73) and AFROTC Commander at SMU (1973-until he retired). He was a veteran of WWII, The Korean War, and The Vietnam War and received a Million-Miler Certificate of Achievement, Distinguished Flying Cross Vietnam 1969, Legion of Merit in 1974, and had 10,000 accident-free flying hours in his career. Retiring after 30 years from the USAF, he repaired and rebuilt antique clocks and became an avid horse enthusiast.
Tom, a loving husband and father, is survived by his daughters Pamela S. Berman of Overland Park, Kan., and Vicki K. Livingston of Oklahoma City; five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.