Barry Robert Skura, 73, of Philipstown, died on May 17 of a stroke at Schunnemunk State Park in Cornwall while doing one of the things he loved best: hiking on a beautiful late spring day with friends.
He was born in Brooklyn on July 6, 1947, the son of Jacob Skura and Edith Polykoff and raised by his aunt and uncle, Helen and William Gladstone, in Valley Stream. After graduating from Stony Brook University in 1969, he earned a doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1975.
Early in his career, Barry taught at the University of Minnesota and the University of Rochester. A constant theme throughout his career was involvement in social activism, most concretely during his work in the 1980s as a community labor organizer in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Later, Barry took a job on the staff of the New York City comptroller’s office and worked as an assistant director at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. While there, and until his retirement in 2015, Barry was a key player in developing systems to manage and assess governmental reimbursement.
Barry was known for his skill as a hiker and backpacker. He served as backpack chair for the New Jersey chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club New York and was led excursions to New Zealand; Sedona, Arizona; the Appalachian and Smokey Mountains and the Adirondacks.
He met his future wife, Kathy, on a skiing trip in Quebec in 2001. They married in 2004 and formed Hiking and Art, leading trips combining plein air painting and hiking in the American Southwest. After his retirement, Barry and Kathy moved to Glassbury Court in Philipstown and enjoyed exploring area hiking trails.
Barry also continued his lifelong social activism, serving on the board of the Mid-Hudson chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and Philipstown Aging at Home. Deeply religious, he was also on the board of the Philipstown Reformed Synagogue.
Barry was known for his broad intelligence, extraordinary range of interests, quirky sense of humor, unfailing kindness and steadfastness, his family said. He was a master storyteller, but always listened carefully. He loved early jazz and had an extensive collection of vintage recordings.
Along with his wife, he is survived by his stepchildren, Paul and Shalem Hughes, and grandchildren Leah, Kyle, Rainer and Anton. He is also survived by his cousins: Michael and Bernadette Gladstone, Rita Gladstone, Joseph and Vicki Gladstone; and his nieces and nephews: Mara and Max Cheryl and KaMan, Meghan and Will, and Bill and Jessica.
Information provided by Clinton Funeral Home