Game of life: George Skiniotes was an expert fisherman, champion bowler
Longtime fisherman recently died after celebrating his 61st birthday
A farewell to people with Oklahoma ties who enjoyed the game day experience:
*George Skiniotes' name often appeared in outdoor briefs written by Oklahoman staff writer Ed Godfrey. Skiniotes, who moved to Oklahoma City from Arlington, Texas, in 1984, was a student-of-the-game fisherman. He hosted clinics at Bass Pro Shops, most notably on how to catch walleye in Oklahoma. Skiniotes caught 29 walleye in one day at Lake Hefner; one year, he snagged 67 walleye, with none weighing less than 6 pounds. The Joliet, Ill., native was also an exceptional bowler, often teaming with wife Joanne for tournaments. George and Joanne bested 64 other teams to win a No-Tap Tournament in 1995 at the old 66 Bowl. The businessman died Nov. 16, shortly after celebrating his 61st birthday.
The Oklahoman asked Douglass High School basketball standout Stevie Clark three questions:
*List five of your favorite things:
“My phone, Xbox 360, iPod, rings and Player of the Year trophy.”
*List one person you want to trade places with for a day and why:
“LeBron James. I want to see how it feels to be him.”
*What is the top thing on your bucket list?
“Travel the world with my family and friends.”
88-0: Hall High School opened the Arkansas girls' basketball season with an 88-0 victory over Fair High. A far superior Hall squad tried to take it easy on Fair, pulling its starters four minutes into the game and owning a 28-0 lead. According to THV, a CBS affiliate in Little Rock, Hall showed sportsmanship by not using a full-court press or pressure defense the rest of the game. But the Hall reserves still wanted to impress coaches and were not afraid to shoot the basketball.
35: Former Oklahoma City Blazers forward Garth Gartner turns 35 Tuesday. Gartner's time in a Blazers uniform was brief, playing just 15 regular season games after being acquired from the Border City Bandits, a horrid Texarkana, Ark.-based Central Hockey League team. Gartner was known for scrappy, problematic play on the ice. He managed just three points but piled up 65 penalty minutes for OKC. Although the Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada, native was not known for scoring, he was credited with the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the 2000-2001 CHL championship series against the Columbus Cottonmouths. Gartner was the last Blazers player to touch the puck before a Columbus player accidentally put the disk in his own net. The 2-1 overtime victory gave OKC a 3-1 lead in the series; the Blazers clinched the title the next game.
*Hunting, fishing, drag racing and running were just a few things Bobby Tipton liked in life. He volunteered time with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for youth hunts. He was an open water scuba instructor and an endowment member of the National Rifle Association. The Putnam City West High School graduate was an Oklahoma City Barons season ticket holder. Tipton, a retired USDA research lab employee, died recently from pancreatic cancer at age 54.
*A dedicated father, Oklahoma City resident Tommy Thomas coached youth soccer and traveled across the country to attend swim meets. Thomas' favorite athletes were sons Grant and Hogan, who lost their dad on Nov. 15 at age 63.
*Former Putnam City High School football player Michael McDaid loved to ride horses. Aside from becoming an expert auto mechanic, McDaid's passion was to become a professional calf roper. He died Nov. 13 at age 22 after suffering a brain aneurysm.
*Newman Jarrell Jr. was a Snyder native who was a longtime season-ticket holder for Oklahoma football. The retired security officer and former Oldsmobile and International Harvester dealer died at age 87.
*Oklahoma City resident Dick Williams died at age 86. The Iowa native ran track in high school but continued to play tennis well into his 80s.
*Dale Dishman left a mark on basketball, both as a player and coach. As a player, Dishman averaged 38.2 points per game in 1962 for the Chelsea Dragons. The average still rates among the 10 best in Oklahoma high school history. Dishman earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Tulsa. He transferred to Bacone and then Northeastern State; he played ball for both schools. Dishman served his country during the Vietnam War and then continued a career in basketball as a coach. After a stint as a graduate assistant at Northeastern State, Dishman led Fairfax High School to the 1978 boys state championship. He later coached in Bartlesville, both at College and Sooner highs before they merged into one school. The coach spent his retirement years as a Dewey resident. Dishman died Nov. 18 at age 68.
*Oklahoma City native Carl Mitchell Jr. was an exceptional tennis player. As a young man, in the 1930s, he won a national tournament in doubles. Awarded the bronze star during World War II. Retired as a bank vice president. Mitchell died at age 90.