Harvey Lafayette Skinner (April 18, 1926 - November 20, 2011) was a businessman who was a major figure in the development of the Republican Party in historic Washington County, Texas, located south of Bryan-College Station. Texan independence from Mexico was declared in Washington County on March 2, 1836, four days before the fall of The Alamo.
Skinner was born in Mansfield in Wright County in southern Missouri, to Archie Lafayette Skinner and the former Bertha Marie Wylder. He was baptized in the Christian faith in the Jordan River in Israel. On May 18, 1964, he married the former Madeline Carol Wells. He was the chief executive officer of S.C.S., Inc., and Unicore. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. While living in Houston, he was a member of Rotary International. In 1992, the Skinners moved to Brenham, the seat of Washington County, where he was active in the Blue Blazers. He was a board member of the Central Texas Area Museum in Salado in Bell County and a docent of the Brenham Heritage Museum.
In 1949 and 1951, Skinner received, respectively, a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in government from the University of Houston. He taught school for five years in Houston before he became a salesman for Allyn and Bacon textbooks. He was later a salesman for the Dictaphone Corporation. He helped establish HTG, which was ultimately sold to Haliburton. In 1964, he founded S.C.S., which employed more than 130 in the sale of Sony, Norelco, and other makers of Dictaphone equipment. He was one of the first dealers to sell Xerox personal computers. He founded CPT of Houston, a dealer of word processors. He then established Unicore, one of two AT&T computer wholesalers.
Long active in the GOP, Skinner was precinct chairman, headquarters chairman, and vice chairman before he became the county chairman. He was last elected as county chairman in the 2010 primary election. He was a delegate to numerous county and state conventions. He was a delegate to the 2004 national Republican convention held in New York City to renominate the Bush-Cheney ticket. In a December 2009 interview with the Brenham Banner, Skinner described the Washington County GOP as one which "adheres to conservative values, and we intend to maintain those principles ... The Republican Party is alive and well in Texas. Our need is to keep the party, just as President Reagan said - 'A shining city on the hill.'"
Texas state GOP chairman Steve Munisteri recalled Skinner as "a valued Republican leader in Central Texas, ... a true patriot, and a fine gentleman with a keen mind and wit. Just last year during the primary cycle, Harvey and Madeline invited me to their home in Brenham and we spent several delightful hours visiting and talking about the future of the Texas GOP."
Skinner died in Brenham at the age of eighty-five. In addition to his wife, he was survived by two sons, Donald Lee Broussard and Clyde Myrle Broussard, and his wife, Kathy Lovelace; daughter, Linda Carol Broussard, and a grandson, Morgan Wells Broussard. Services were held on November 27, 2011, at the Brenham Church of Christ, with pastor Doug Hall officiating. Interment followed on November 28 at the Veterans National Cemetery in Houston.