Victor and Ruth Skiles

Victor and Ruth Skiles

Written by Leah Schwisow


Victor Henry Skiles was born in Dayton, Idaho on October 15, 1917. His family eventually moved to Burley Idaho where he graduated from Burley High School. Upon graduation, Victor attended the University of Idaho and graduated in 1940. Ruth Nay Skiles was born in Batesville, Virginia. Upon high school graduation, Ruth moved to Washington DC, where she attended American University and started working for the US government. She then started working for what is known today as USAID in the office of Personnel.

Mr. Skiles traveled to Washington D.C after graduation from the University of Idaho to serve as an intern with the National Institute of Public Affairs. He was assigned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 1942, Mr. Skiles enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in the Pacific Theater. At the end of WWII, because of his experience with the US Department of Agriculture, he was asked to join the Quadripartite Control Council in Berlin Germany, which was working on a food distribution program for war refugees and displaced persons. Mr. Skiles continued work in that area until he joined the US Department of State in Greece in 1948.

Following his assignment in Greece, he returned to Washington D.C in 1950, working at the Department of State in the Technical Cooperation Assistance organization, where he worked on Greece, Turkey and Iran Affairs. Later, the TCA was merged with the Mutual Security Administration, forming what is now the U.S. Agency for International Development, where Mr. Skiles continued to work on Middle Eastern Affairs, and where he met Ruth.

The couple was married in 1958, and took their first assignment to Israel, where Mr. Skiles was the Deputy Director for USAID and directed the substantial US assistance programs in that area, while Mrs. Skiles facilitated meetings and entertained a network of international people fulfilling an intricate role as an international woman. Next, the couple was assigned to Nairobi Kenya where Mr. Skiles served as the USAID East Africa Representative, establishing assistance programs in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

The couple then moved back to D.C for another tour, where they were asked to take an assignment in Ceylon, which is now Sri Lanka, again as a USAID Representative. During their time there, directed development assistance activities were initiated. From there, Mr. and Mrs. Skiles moved to Kabul, Afghanistan where Mr. Skiles served as the Deputy Director of the USAID program there.

In all of their overseas work in assisting developing countries, Mr. and Mrs. Skiles focused on making the best use of US support to enhance programs in these countries that contributed to improvements in education, agriculture, public health, public administration, and other critical fields as well as truly enjoy the great groups of international people they encountered.