Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Richie Skane

My first season in Antarctica was the winter of 1994. I worked as a General Assistant with Bob Farrell (now the station manager) and we spent a lot of time shoveling snow but we also did a lot of carpenter helper type work as we rebuilt portions of the station. I was very privileged to work for Richard "Richie" Skane and I also spending a few memorable days with him in Colorado. Richie was my boss and probably one of the best bosses I have ever had. On top of that he was an all around good, fun, fair person - one of those people that everyone enjoyed being around. I can still picture his smile emerging from his bearded face below his round glasses, with a pillbox hat on his curly head. His eyes always had a smile too.

Later, when I worked at Palmer in the science program, Richie was again working in the carpenter shop. At the end of one particularly stressful and advisor-beaten season when I felt the lowest I have ever felt in my life, Richie was the one who approached me as I was getting on the ship to leave and told me "you will be alright John". It made a tremendous difference to my self-esteem to hear that from someone I really respected and I will always remember his kind words.

He passed away in February of 2003 of stomach cancer.

Photo by Glenn Grant

Last year Glenn Grant and a group of people who knew and loved Richie made a proposal to have an Antarctic feature named for him. You can read the whole story here. Originally the proposal was to name a small island recently exposed at the face of a glacier near Palmer Station after Richie. However, after further consideration, a nunatak near Cape Monaco was proposed. I found out that the USGS approved the application this August, the details are listed below:

Antarctica Feature Detail

Antartica ID: 18944

Feature Name: Skane Nunatak

Class: Summit

Latitude: 644302S Longitude: 0641636W

Description: A distinctive nunatak rising to 130 meters 0.4 mile E of Cape Monaco, Anvers Island, in the Palmer Archipelago. Named by US-ACAN (2007) after Richard J. Skane, carpenter foreman in support of the U.S. Antarctic Program at McMurdo Station for four field seasons from 1979; at Palmer Station for 10 field seasons including two winters, 1986-96. Elevation ( ft/m ): 427 / 130

Decision Year: 17-JUL-07

Date Entered: 14-AUG-07

I hope I get near Cape Monaco this year to see Skane Nunatak and say hello to an old friend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Richie and I were blood brothers in Massachusetts and lived next door to each other in Newton Corner in our mid twenties. After he started going to the Ice, he would come back and we would catchup. I could never get enough Richie. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him, and your memorial to him has brought tears to my eyes.. many. He was absolutely the BEST of the BEST. I cannot believe that I just found this site.

Rob Teicher (londonfan@yahoo.com)