Maria Renola Skelton, 73, of Lihue passed away in the early morning hours, November 23, at Wilcox Hospital following a major heart event at her home. Her husband Bill was with her during that time, along with two close church friends and her parish priest.
Maria was born August 12, 1946, in Fort Worth, Texas, to Frank Renola and Anita (Putman) Renola. She studied fashion design and textiles at the University of Texas, graduating in 1968. She planned to go to New York as a fashion designer, but her father encouraged her to stay in Austin to get to know her fiancé, who had a semester left in engineering school.
Maria married Bill the week after his graduation on February 1, 1969, and they moved to the New Orleans suburb of Metarie. In 1970 they were transferred to Dallas, Texas, where their children were born. In 1978 they moved to the Houston suburb of Cypress, where their children grew up and Maria and Bill retired. After raising her children, Maria was employed as the parish administrative assistant at a Lutheran church in Cypress, Texas.
Maria and Bill observed their 50th anniversary this year by celebrating all year. They had a reception on Kauai, another in Texas for mainland family and friends, a road trip with their grandkids to Colorado and Utah, a mainland family vacation in Park City, another road trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the Little Bighorn Battlefield, and Mt. Rushmore, a last-minute cruise from Iceland to Norway to Denmark, and a fall color cruise from Montreal to Boston.
They first came to Kauai as vacationers in 1988, bought a timeshare in 1997, then a Poipu condo in 2000, becoming full time local residents shortly after. They moved to Lihue in 2013.
Maria was cheerful and faithful and had a good heart. She served on a prayer team during worship services at St. Michael and All Angels Church, was a Lay Eucharistic Visitor for home-bound individuals, a member of the altar guild, and a regular office volunteer. In her previous mainland church, she was a pastoral care leader, director of its altar guild, and a Sunday school teacher. In her free time, Maria enjoyed travel, especially with her grandchildren, needlework and crafts, and gardening. Her special garden love was orchids. She was a Hawaii Master Gardener.
Maria is survived by husband Bill; son Edward Skelton (Lisa) of Flower Mound, Texas; daughters Cynthia Skelton (David Cooper) of Newport, Rhode Island, and Amanda Skelton (Craig Duff) of Indonesia, hanai daughter Loretta Ebnet of Lihue; sister Barbara Renola of Arlington, Texas; brothers Gary Renola (Elaine) of Seabrook, Texas, and John Renola (Peggy Meeker) of Cypress, Texas; and two grandchildren, Samantha and Ben Skelton.
A memorial service will be held Monday, December 2, at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Lihue at 2:30 p.m. A memorial service is planned for late December in Texas.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Michael and All Angels Church, 4364 Hardy St., Lihue, HI 96766 or to the charity of one's choice.
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