To some he is Dad, Big Tom, Tommy, but to Ken he was "That Tom." Ken liked Tom Herman right from the start. He was in law school when I told Dad we were getting married. Skamp knew that Tom was such a "hard worker." When in Cedarville Skamp always had a work pal when Tom was around. In the early days we would be over at the kid's cottage (now Chris's cottage) and Skamp would hustle over through the woods at 7 AM on the dot (that's when ALL jobs started) and loudly stomp down the steps by the master bedroom and announce his presence. "Everybody up!" I usually would be in the kitchen and try to wake Tom before Skamp opened the door. I'd give Skamp an Oreo or brownie while Tom would get up and come into the kitchen. That Tom would barely have an eye open and Skamp would be showing his job list to Tom. Tom would be dressed within minutes while I tried to keep Dad quiet so the kids didn't wake up. But even louder he'd say, "why aren't the kids up yet?" Minutes later Tom and Skamp would be out the door sawing a path in the woods, boating to Tassiers t fix a boat, erecting a flag pole on the dock, driving to Mackinaw City to talk about a boat license, returning to the house mid-morning to ask if the kids were up yet so they could do some jobs too.......That Tom never complained. Ever! Until one day a couple of years ago...... He said No to Skamp over cleaning the toilet with Comet Cleanser 2 minutes before dinner was served. Sarah did the job. Skamp was proud of Tom being a judge. He would often ask about his judgeship and interesting cases. He knew that Tom was a good husband and good father and we would together relish our appreciation for him. He often said how lucky I was to have him.....How lucky the kids were to have him for a father. I knew that. The kids knew that. That Tom was special to Skamp. I hope Tom knows that! Love, Laurie
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Rachael-Rachie-Baby, cruise, First born grandchild, boatrides, visit last yaer to FL-you made a video of Skamp on tricycle, many phone calls, wanted you to tell him about your love-life as if he were living through you, proud you were a teacher w/masters degree, loved Mackinaw Is. with you-visited you when you worked there, cruises! Rosie-So happy you liked to read on boat rides, trips to North Channel, R&R rides,you gave him Lewie, first greatgrandchild, you and Steve got to visit him last January, loved to eat cookies with you, so proud of you at Vincennes, so proud of your running marathons and short races, loved talking to you on phone Annie-You were so sood at sailing-he was so happy that you liked to race and worked at the Sailing Club in Chicago-that sailing was such a part of your life-interested in your rowing in High School-Your interest in the Yacht Club in les Cheneaux-anything to do with boats was agreat thing-proud of you achieving school psychologist in Traverse City-loved your wedding in Mich! Loved that Rorke was a Captain! Christian- You spent entire summer with Ruth and Skamp when you were 16-you got to know all of his quirks then-maybe feeling especially close to him having worked so closely with him. All those sails-learning all those jokes, learning the boat basics over and over again---the special letters you wrote to each other that you saved-He told you everything exactly as it was-wanted you to learn from that.So proud of you graduating from OU Sarah-Loved your attachment to Cedarville and the Les Cheneaux, So fun coming to the house with Sita to eat Oreos with him, Bilge Babes was a real hit, that pink boat too(what was that called?!) you were the only one that would clean the toilets with comet that one night, Bush Bay picnics with all that bacon, Michigan was a day place not a night place, so proud of you becoming a N.D.and all the time that took to get there, He love doctors you know ,you gave him his second great grandchild CeCe with Chris. He saw those pictures the day before he died. Tommy -soloing the Ensign-Skamp was so excited that a grandchild loved sailing that much..taught you the parts of the sailboat over and over again.....jobs in Mich-hard to get you out of bed, but when you were out there working you were working hard and thoroughly! and you cleaned boats as HE wanted. Loved to hear about your biking and racing-loved competition. So proud of you being an engineer no matter how long it took to get there. He had some adversity along the way himself with some bad grades and interferences.
Skamp was such an AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL person and grandpa! I always felt very honored to be his granddaughter! What I liked most about him was his ability to ALWAYS be so positive and work hard-no matter what! He is such an inspiration! He was such an awesome sailor and golfer-it was always so much fun doing both of these activities with him! He taught all of us how to sail at fairly young ages, which I thought was so great! He was sooo hilarious all the time! There was never a time when I was around him where I didn't laugh-always telling jokes and being so funny! He would literally speak his mind! He would always light up a room as soon as he walked into anywhere! I always felt that he was an awesome inspiration to me and everyone else (even strangers). He always had a sweet ability to make EVERYONE smile! Skamp, I will forever LOVE you! Love, Rosie
I just spent 1 hour writing memories of all of you (Rachael, Rosie, Annie, Christian, Sarah, and Tommy) with Skamp and accidentally pressed backspace and deleted it all. I am frustrated, but I will write at a later time. KNOW that Skamp loved you all dearly each in your own special way. He talked about you everyday when I was with him. He loved to call you on the cell phone. I would dial and he would talk. We would do that to fill the time if we were ever sitting somewhere. NEVER a dull moment. You know, he taught me how to never be bored!
I always dreaded the day that Dad would die. He talked about dying ever since I can remember. He would take us out to "Ken's rock" by Penny Island and I would tearfully watch him direct me to where his ashes should be dropped. He was so matter of fact about it---like we weren't supposed to get upset by this gesture, just "do it" when the time comes. He took me on several cruises, one of which he and I sat on a beach, and he told me that he was not afraid to die, that he believed in God, that he knew that there was something somewhere out there in the after life, that he wanted to come back in the next life as a seagull, and on and on. Oh, and I should add that he told almost everyone he knew that if he died tomorrow, he had had such a great life. And he did have a great life. I have spent an enormous amount of time with my father over the last 56 years of my life. Most of the time was spent listening respectfully to his orders. His days were consumed with getting as much done as possible. He would make long lists of jobs to be completed by hopefully mid day. It was ingrained that you get your jobs finished by a certain time (fast). Then you were allowed to "relax" with perhaps a sail, a dish of icecream , a nap, a visit with friends. But your real reward would be dinner. It seemed that family dinners were so important where everyone would gather around the table and listen to Dad slam his hand down abruply and say "I want everyone to listen to me!" And we all did. I was never quite sure how Dad retained any of the information that he gathered from conversations. But he did.. I don't think I ever finished a full sentence in my 56 years. He managed listen to the first half of my sentence. Then his mind would wander to another subject. Now we all know that's ADD. How brilliant to be able to retain so much knowledge with a brain racing like a fast train. I had the pleasure to be able to care for Dad in his last days. I watched him decline for many years. But the good news is what I was able to learn from him in this decline. Here's a man that all his life prided himself on getting so much accomplished in a short time. One would only imagine that such a decline would cause extreme depression. But it didn't. Even in a wheel chair at the end he would greet me with "Hi Laurie!" and ask me about my children, my run in the morning, what Ruth was doing, etc. He was able to find pleasure in simple life as in eating and sleeping. He taught me how to live and he taught me how to die. Thankkyou.- I love you Dad. I know that your vacation will be a good one! Love Laurie
I’m going to miss Skamp’s phone calls to me. He would call, out of the blue to chat like friends do. He started doing this in college and would call to see what I was doing and check on the progress of my love life. Like Annie wrote, he never missed the opportunity to dish advice, but he lived a full life and had earned the right to do that, as our grandfather. He called me “Rachie Baby” and was always excited to see me—ditto for all of his grandchildren. He was such a happy person, smiling and positive and full of ideas and activities. He taught me so much about life and about Les Cheneaux. Adventures usually included visiting friends and family on Boot or Coryell Island, making a trip to Mackinac to visit with friends and pick up some fudge and oatmeal cookies from Martha’s Sweet Shop, and picnic lunches—Bush Bay, drifting around Goose Island, and of course while sailing. Everyone knew and loved Skamp. I was always proud to be his granddaughter. In Florida, Skamp used to show us slide shows with a projector. He would take down the framed picture, creating the ‘screen’. He was a world traveler, so we were always excited to see his slide shows—beaches in Portugal, bonefishing in the Bimini Islands, cruises to anywhere. He always seemed to sneak in a slide of women sunbathing topless, clicking through it quickly and commenting, “How did that get in there?” We all would laugh and know that, like the dirty jokes this was part of who Skamp was—a fun-loving character! As I look through old pictures and a video (will be posted soon), there is an overwhelming sense of positive energy exuding from him. I will take that aspect of him- his positivity and sense of adventure- and live my life to the fullest in his honor. Thank you for EVERYTHING, Skamp! Your influence was immense. Your memory will live on. You are forever in my heart.
Skamp was not your typical slow-moving, “stick in the mud” grandfather. Rather, he could run circles around most of his grandchildren, and his wit was uncanny. He could always make me laugh…it was never a dull moment in the presence of Skamp. And in case the moment seemed to be getting dull, he’d pull out a piece of paper filled with punch lines from his wallet and start telling jokes. And they weren’t just your typical “why did the chicken cross the road” jokes. They were dirty and not so “pc.” I played many rounds of golf with Skamp. We’d tee off at 7:00 am and be finished by 8:00 am. Like any golfer dedicated to the game, I would take practice swings before each shot. Well these practice swings were only slowing Skamp down from getting back home by 8:15 and getting on the sailboat by 8:30. He declared that practice swings were not allowed. To save even more time on the links, he’d jump off the cart while it was still rolling, hit his ball, and jump back on. Before we’d play golf in Florida, we’d need to get some balls. Skamp would gear up in his full body snake suit and we’d head to the swamp. This experience was not only entertaining, but it also displayed his thriftiness. Why buy balls when there are free ones in the swamp? And this thriftiness has been passed on to all of us Herman/Horsburghs. His favorite song while driving the golf cart was “Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, no messing around in the automobile.” He’d sing this and swerve every which way on the road. In his car, we’d listen to many great oldies. “R-A-G-G Ragg Mopp” was among one of my favorites. Skamp loved to eat. He’d sneak over to our cottage in Michigan to eat some cookies from the freezer. It didn’t matter if it was 9 am or 9 pm. He had a sweet tooth, and the cut carrots and celery in Ruth’s fridge just didn’t cut it. He also loved to eat the strangest sandwiches. When my mom would ask him what he wanted to take for lunch on the sailboat, he’d ask for his favorite- cheese, pickle, mayo and peanut butter. Skamp taught me many things. He taught me that I was very fortunate (“not lucky”) to be in the family that I am in. He taught me to cherish daylight, for “Michigan is a day place, not a night place.” He taught me the value of saving money. He taught me efficiency. And he also taught me to have a good sense of humor and to keep things light. He accomplished so much in his lifetime. I am sure he looks back on his life and feels the uttermost sense of fulfillment.
When I was younger and asked to write about someone that I saw as a role model, I either chose to write about Oprah Winfrey or my grandpa, Skamp. He and was one of those people that I continually felt lucky to have in my life, let alone, to have as my grandfather. He was an avid sailor and a creative thinker. He loved people and knew everybody. He was so generous and the only material things that he liked were boats and the occasional American made economy car. He truly loved life and lived every day to the fullest. He is inspiring. Days with him were always packed with adventures. If it was raining out, he loved to put on his raingear and head out to Coryell by boat, not for any reason other than it would be an adventure. When we would spend the day with him, we would get so much done. Visiting people, cleaning boats, getting ice cream, going to the hardware store…all before noon! He taught us that we needed to earn relaxation time, even on vacation. And for him relaxation meant sailing, although we hardly relaxed on the boat. There was frequent tacking and jibing, trimming sails, and polishing varnish while we sailed. The man was the master of efficiency! Skamp took his role as a grandfather pretty seriously. He was always giving us advice. From how to eat a grapefruit to finding a partner to spend your life with, he had an opinion. It was either Skamp’s way or the wrong way. Skamp always made sure to spend quality time with each of his grandkids, trying not to play favorites. His face would always light up when a new one walked into the room. It felt so good to be in his presence and know that he was paying attention to you. Even though he wasn’t the best listener, he somehow retained some of the things that I told him, and I always felt so special to hear him talk about me. I know that he liked that I was a sailor, but he never came out and told me that. Every time I would go sailing with him he would instruct me on the fundamentals of sailing. I would tell him that I have taught Sailing 101 to hundreds of adults over the course of 7 years, but that didn’t matter. Finally, on one of the last sailing trips with him, he acknowledged that I was a pretty good sailor. It felt nice to have his approval. Ever since I can remember, Skamp has talked about dying. Not in a morbid way (he didn’t talk much about feelings), but as an impending part of life. I found out today that he wrote his own obituary three years ago. Classic! It is sad that he is no longer with us, but I know it was his time. The last words he said, in his foggy state of being, were that he was going on a vacation and he was going to catch a big fish. I like that metaphor for the afterlife, and I think it suits him well. I am so blessed to have had him in my life, and he will always be an inspiration to me.
A few of many fond memories I have of him: My middle name, was it Skamp or Kenneth? I was unsure for a while and was constantly teased by my siblings about what my real middle name was. I guess I just always knew that my middle name was the same name as Skamp’s name so since my name for skamp was “Skamp Horsburgh” therefore my middle name is Skamp. And beyond that I always liked being named after skamp and liked to tell people about my middle name. Skamp always got a kick out of it when he asked me my middle name and I said Skamp, this happened on more than a few occasions. Soloing the Ensign, I was about 11 or 12 years old and Skamp decided I needed to solo the Ensign. I had sailed with him numerous times earlier that summer and was actually starting to enjoy it. Skamp would plan our sailing adventure out a day or two ahead of time and My mom would be sure to wake me up early in the morning to be ready for sailing with skamp, and this particular summer skamp really wanted me to get better at sailing his ensign. Not that I hadn’t sailed with skamp much in previous summers, but particularly this summer skamp was hell bent on the kids(seemed like it was mostly just me) going sailing with him to learn more about sailing the ensign. So I did, and soon enough the day came that I was going to solo the ensign. After him proclaiming to me that I was going to solo it that summer it was only about a week or two until he decided I was ready. I sort of thought otherwise, I was nervous about it to say the least but I knew I could do it, if I could just get the landing perfect. And by soloing the ensign I mean doing everything by yourself, set up the ensign, take off from the dock, do a short leg out into muskie bay, then back to land at the dock. He specifically wanted to do it at the dock because he knew it was a bit harder to land there than at the mooring. I did fine, but gave him a scare on the landing part, coming very close to shore nearly running aground. He wanted me to land at the outside of the pole dock but I came close to shore and landed at the inside of it. It worked out fine and he was overjoyed at my soloing performance. It was the highlight of his day and he proceeded to tell everyone about it that day and at dinner. Something else I remember Skamp teaching me, I think that same summer, were many different knots that are useful in boating. He gave me a section of rope to practice with and while we were out sailing he would quiz me on the different knots he taught me. He did this on a couple sails until he knew that I had all the knots down perfectly. Something else he would always quiz me on were the different parts of the sail and the specific names and the different reaches and terminologies of sailing. He always reinforced the basics of sailing to make sure I knew how to make the boat move. Knowing where the wind is out of, what course we are on, where the sails should be set, how to jibe and come about with losing the least amount of speed. He definitely sparked an interest in me for sailing at a young age, and that interest continues to grow to this day. Skamp was a lot of fun; I will never forget him and the experiences I shared with him. I will never stop going to Les Cheneaux, Skamp’s legacy up there was huge and I am not going to let it die during my lifetime. His legacy will always live on in my own self as well as the many others who have witnessed and been motivated by Skamp’s many great practices, traditions, jobs, pastimes, and community service. He lives on in spirit. I hope that we never lose some of the enjoyable traditions that he carried out throughout his time in les cheneaux. Theres a lot that I have already seen die(or lose interest), bush bay picnic, going to see kens rock, sailing to mackinac or other fun day or overnight sails, playing 9 holes in less than an hour, or even raking the driveway and other less fun jobs. Skamp you are never forgotten.