James Edward Skaley, 79, died quietly at home on Dec. 24, 2022 in Dryden NY following a short but devastating illness. Jim grew up in Washburn North Dakota, where he played on the banks of the Missouri River while his dad, Edward Skaley, ran the local pool hall and his mother, Ruth Schneider Skaley, was a school teacher. After earning degrees in Biology from the University of North Dakota, Jim completed a tour of duty in the Air Force in SE Asia where his aerial photography helped guide military operations. In addition to completing a PhD in Natural Resources at Cornell, Jim studiously followed a life-long practice of carefully managing a portfolio of investments. As a systems thinker, Jim understood and tackled big issues. He was a water resource planner for Tompkins County NY, and was instrumental in starting the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network and Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance (FLLOWPA). He served as long-time Treasurer of the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca NY and was a driving force in creating VOICES, a multicultural chorus in Ithaca. Most recently, as a member of the Town Board of Dryden NY, Jim facilitated establishment of an Affordable Housing Committee for the Town and spent countless hours moving NY Rte. 366 infrastructure projects forward in Dryden’s unincorporated Hamlet of Varna. Jim loved reading (especially Sci-Fi), good wine, cats, backgammon, prairie grasslands, public radio, birds, classical music, talking politics, and finding ways to lower his carbon footprint. He delighted family and friends with the rhubarb custard pie his mother taught him to make and enchanted many with his piano and culinary improvisations. Jim loved to travel and, fortunately, in the summer of 2022, he fulfilled a dream of taking a Viking river cruise. Healthy and happy, he enjoyed two weeks on the rivers of central Europe, going ashore for walking tours in historic towns, spending time with friends, and indulging his curiosity for learning about the world. Jim is survived by his wife Janet Morgan of Dryden NY; his adult kid Charlie Heimbuch Skaley and their wife Devin Krugman; and grandchildren Sasha Aaron Doerig-Krugman and Noa Ruth Doerig-Krugman of Oakland CA. Jim’s thoughtful, kind, and loyal presence will be deeply missed. A celebration of Jim's life will be held Saturday, March 25 at 2p at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, 306 North Aurora Street in downtown Ithaca. Everyone welcome! He would be pleased if memorial donations are made to the Environmental Defense Fund, WSKG, or the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca.