Ina Josephine Varnell Skinner, beloved mother, Maw Maw, and devoted companion went home to eternal glory on March 27, 2010.
She was born Ina Josephine Varnell on Feb. 26, 1927, to Ina Mary Brock Varnell and Joseph Greer Varnell in Piedmont, Ala., where she grew up. After graduating from high school, she studied music and voice at Northwestern University in Chicago. She graduated from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala., with a degree in voice performance.
Moving to St. Augustine after college graduation, she began a long teaching career in the St. Johns County School system and taught many elementary grades in various local schools, retiring in 1989.
She was best known as a fun music teacher who put on extraordinary holiday shows as she magically touched the lives of generations of local children and was loved by so many as one of their favorite and most memorable teachers.
Superintendent of schools during her teaching years was heard to say that there would never be another Ina Jo; she was one of a kind.
During the ’50s through the ’70s, her beautiful soprano voice was well-known and could frequently be heard entertaining at events all over the city. She was a longtime choir director of Grace Methodist Church and a frequent soloist at many area churches. She also sang for the dinner dances with the Continental Strings at the Ponce de Leon Hotel during its last years before becoming Flagler College.
Ina Jo loved a party, and her many club affiliations include Maria Jefferson Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, PEO Chapter DC, St. Augustine Ballroom Dance Association and many others throughout the years.
She was also known for her wonderful holiday music parties at her beautiful north city home.
Survivors include her children, daughter Ina Greer Sullivan (Gary); son Talmadge Schill Skinner Jr.; grandchildren, Joseph Brock Sullivan, Michael and Rachel; and devoted longtime companion, Raymond Bravo, who faithfully visited and cared for her.
The family would also like to thank the many loving caregivers at St. Augustine Health and Rehabilitation Center some of whom were Mrs. Skinner’s former students.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in her memory may be made to one of the many organizations to which she belonged or a charity of your choice.
A memorial service celebrating her extraordinary life will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 17, 2010, at Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Craig Funeral Home-Crematory-Memorial Park assisted the Skinner family.