As a halfback in football, Art Skidmore contributed to the Argonaut ground attack. However, the rest of his life revolved around the air.
It started when he joined the Air Force in 1940 as a fresh-faced 18 year-old out of Danforth Tech High School in Toronto. After receiving his World War II pilot training, Skidmore served stints in the air in England and India.
"In retrospect, there were some close calls, but at the time it didn't appear that way," said Skidmore.
When the war ended five years later, Skidmore found himself a unemployed, newly-married 23 year-old. That's when he decided to join the Argos.
"I was looking around for something to do," said Skidmore, matter-of-factly. "The teams just kind of grabbed everybody as they came back (from the war)."
The Argonauts seemed to grab the best of them, since they went on to win three straight Grey Cups right after the war, a streak which Skidmore was a part of.
"(The Grey Cups) didn't have the same aura about them then that they do now, though" said Skidmore. "By today's standards, you could consider the league nothing more than amateur, really."
The amount they were paid testified to that, and Skidmore supplemented his income at the time by joining the Toronto Fire Department.
"I never saw football as anything more than a short-term arrangement," admitted Skidmore.
In 1950, he went back to the air, as the Cold War was heating up and the Air Force was looking for experienced World War II pilots to test their F-86 Sabres. Skidmore fit the resume, and was subsequently stationed in France for four years. Coming back to Canada, he worked in MacDonald, Manitoba (a small town just outside of Winnipeg), did personnel work at Centralia in London, and was an instructor at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton for six years. He officially retired from the Air Force in 1968, but spent the next 15 years as a commercial pilot on various missions.
"Now I play golf," said the soft-spoken Skidmore, who in person is almost a dead ringer look-a-like for actor Robert Duvall. He lives in Trenton with his wife Jessie, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary together, and the couple have one daughter, Sharon.
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