By Peter Becker
HAWLEY- I. Reines Skier was a prominent local attorney and well-known Hawley resident, who emigrated from Russia as a boy.
He died in 2002 at the age of 98.
Dr. Marilyn T. Pardine, who was his wife for many years, graciously shared much of the information about her husband for this story. Some of the details were found in a 1991 interview with him, done by James Kalbaugh for The Weekly Almanac.
His first name was Isadore, but he was known by his middle name, pronounced "RY-nes." He was born in February 1904 to a Jewish couple, Joseph and Minnie (Minna) Skier, in what is now Lithuania. Joseph emigrated in September of that year, to find a home for his wife and little baby. Reines and his mother emigrated in 1911 from Kovna, Russia. Reines had a brother who died in infancy.
Father peddled wares
His father Joseph was a peddler when he came to America, like his brother Morris, who also settled in Hawley.
Morris's line included his son Abram M. Skier, who founded AMSkier Insurance in Hawley, in 1920.
Joseph Zeilig Skier started peddling his wares on his back. He trudged along the roads of Wayne and Pike counties and along the Delaware, sleeping in people's barns. Joseph recited Psalms from his prayer book as he walked along. He saved enough money to purchase a mule and cart and traveled the countryside selling his merchandise. The mule was later traded for a horse.
In 1907, Joseph Skier bought the inventory of the Ames store on Main Avenue, on the 200 block of Main Avenue, at the corner with Keystone Street. Joseph had purchased three adjacent buildings, reconstructing them as one building and replacing the peaked roofs with a single, flat roof. His dry goods store was on the corner.
A vintage picture shows Joseph Skier's store on the left (233 Main), the Hawley Times in center (229 Main) where today is found the Looking Glass Gallery, and at far left was a restaurant operated by Adolph and Rosa Glantz (227 Main). Gaston Ames operated a private, commercial bank in this building, the first bank in Hawley.
The Skiers purchased a large house at 404 Keystone Street -at the corner with Maple Avenue- in 1911, from the Reuben T. Ames estate. Mrs. Skier and young Reines then joined him. A 1912 Hawley street directory lists them living at this corner.
Reines had related that prior to the Skier family living there, a physician used the downstairs as his office and pharmacy, and the upstairs as his residence.
Reines' father died in 1946; his mother, in 1956.
Ann Morgan, who is a retired registered nurse and served as Hawley mayor many years, said she lived on Maple Avenue as a child, across from the Skiers' home. She nursed Mrs. Skier when she was sick. She has fond memories of the Skier family and spoke highly of the late I. Reines Skier.
Page 2 of 3 - "He was the most wonderful son God ever put on this earth. he was so dedicated to her," Morgan recalled. She said that I. Reines Skier was her attorney, and when she was on Council, she remembers him many times attending meetings and sharing "outstanding"advice on many matters.
After graduating Hawley School in 1923, Reines attended the University of Pennsylvania and the New York University law school. He first practiced law in New York City, until 1942 when he was called to active duty during World War II. He served in the Army Air Corps, stationed at Atlantic City. Following the service he moved back to Hawley. First opening a law office on 9th Street in Honesdale, in 1952 he moved his law practice to Hawley, on the second floor above where his father sold dry goods.
He was Assistant to the PA Attorney General under Governors Scranton, Shafer and Shapp. Attorney Skier was a prosecutor for the Liquor Control Board.
A founding member of the Hawley Public Library, he helped the library get its charter in the 1960's. He also helped the local Audubon Society chapter with its charter. Interested in local affairs, he was active in getting a stone marker for Bingham Park to record the park's founding.
Kalbaugh, in 1991,wrote that Attorney Skiers' law office was stacked with books and papers, and the attorney knew exactly where to locate the information he needed. Wall space not taken up by book shelves were filled with framed certificates showing the many courts where he was admitted to practice.
He served as legal counsel to Hawley Borough, Palmyra Township- Pike and the Wayne County Commissioners.
"He was a very hard worker for the county and Hawley," Dr. Pardine reflected. "He did not receive the credit due. He was a very honest and good person."
Georgia Bennett and Sarah Compton worked as his secretaries for several years. Attorney Skier continued practicing law into his early 90's.
He also served as commander of the Hawley American Legion Post and the 15th District of the American Legion Department of Pennsylvania.
Art Glantz, a Hawley native, recalled his times with I. Reines Skier. "Reines was a very good friend of mine and he used to joke that he knew me before I was born," Glantz said. "When I was in Hawley, we would sometimes take long walks around the river." During World War II, Reines raised chickens on his farm on the Wayne County side of Wallenpaupack, Glantz recalled, and Glantz sometimes was out there helping feed the birds.
I. Reines Skier loved the Metropolitan opera. At Penn State he played the violin in the orchestra. He also loved to read.
Strong in his faith
I. Reines Skier was a devout follower of Judaism. He was active at the Machzikah Hadas Congregation, an orthodox synagogue in Scranton. Dr. Pardine said he was a strict follower of the Sabbath and wouldn't drive his car on that day. He was careful to pray three times daily.
Page 3 of 3 - He knew Hebrew from his father; both his parents raised him carefully in the Orthodox tradition.
Dr. Pardine related that the Reines' grandfather on his mother's side was a rabbi in Russia, who helped form a branch of Orthodox Judaism. Minnie Skier's father and sister were both killed by the Nazis, Dr. Pardine related. Reines' cousin was saved from the Nazis by being hidden by a Catholic family in a barn loft.
He was also a great traveler, having been around the world in 1962, made many trips to Europe and three pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
Dr. Pardine had started working in 1969 for Dr. Harry Propst, who was the Chief of Staff at Wayne Memorial Hospital. On July 1, she met her future husband, who was recuperating at the hospital. I. Reines Skier had been in a bad traffic accident on March 19 near Lakeville, driving through fog. Both legs were broken, as well as other injuries. She recalled that he required a body cast from his chest down.
Months later, following his rehabilitation, Reines invited a couple other doctors as well as Dr. Pardine, to dinner. Soon after, a courtship began. They shared many common interests. Love bloomed.
Two years after his crash, they were married.