“He loved sports and kids, he was that type of guy. He wanted to be around what he loved to do,” Faidley said.
While off-duty, Skalaski taught physical education and drivers education courses to students at Gulliver Academy. He was awarded “Outstanding Young Man of 1954” and the Distinguished Service Cross.
The Coral Gables Jr. Chamber of Commerce honored Skalaski in 1955 for his time spent coaching little league teams in basketball, baseball and football.
Skalaski could also be known as Santa Claus to hundreds of kids during the holiday season when he passed out toys from a fire truck and police car. He was also a board member of the Coral Gables Rotary Club.
Throughout Skalaski’s law enforcement career, he continually moved up in rank. In August of 1961, he was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to the detective division and in 1967 he became a Lieutenant.
At the time, he also supervised sports at the Coral Gables Youth Center.
“He was the great spirit of Coral Gables. I remember him for his spirit and enthusiasm,” said Don Slesnick, former mayor of Coral Gables. “The chief made people feel he was close to the community.”
An addition to Skalaski’s accomplishments is his graduation of the 92nd session of the FBI National Academy in 1973, which focused on criminal law and behavioral science.
He continued propelling forward when he was promoted to major in 1983 and became the commander of operations bureau.
On Skalaski’s 61st birthday in 1988, he was sworn in as the chief of Coral Gables. He served as the chief until he retired in 1994.
“He just had perseverance and a hard work ethic. He loved the city of Coral Gables. He loved everything about life and lived it the way he wanted to,” said Fay Skalaski, his wife of 25 years.
Skalaski is survived by his wife and four children Donna Marie Schofield of Vero Beach, William Skalaski of Winston-Salem, N.C., Charlie Skalaski of Jacksonville and Carolyn Briggs of Austin.
The funeral services will be held at a later date in Vero Beach.