Obituary: Silas Skiff, 1999-2020 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Silas Skiff, 1999-2020 

UPitt student made a positive impact on everyone he met

Published October 26, 2020 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated October 29, 2020 at 3:13 p.m.

click to enlarge Silas Skiff - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Silas Skiff

Silas Skiff, beloved son of Stephanie Pierce and William Skiff and treasured brother of Shane Skiff, grew up on Butternut Road in Williston surrounded by his loving family, including his maternal and fraternal grandparents (Tom and Carol Pierce, and Bill and Ruth Skiff, respectively) and many aunts, uncles and cousins. At six foot four, he was a giant in size, spirit and heart, and a rock for his family and large circle of friends. His eagerness to help, his love for family and friends, and his commitment to doing things “the right way” made him the go-to guy for so many things, including his grandparents’ daily tech issues, endless demolition projects on the farm and managing apartment finances. His smile lit up a room, and his goofy, easygoing, loving nature enriched all whom he encountered. He had a positive impact on everyone he met.

He loved spending time with family at the farm, at his grandparents’ home in East Montpelier and at the family camp on Maquam Shore, where he was the master of corn hole. Silas especially cherished his many adventures with his younger brother, Shane, including mountain biking, skiing, jetting around town in the old Ranger and raucous towel wars in the kitchen.

Silas was a renaissance man with a love of both precision and chaos and eclectic interests including music, art and vintage clothing. He was a skilled woodworker who took great pride in the exquisite paddleboard that he designed and created as part of his Grad Challenge at Champlain Valley Union, where he made many lifelong friends. His love of numbers and precision led him to pursue engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He later switched majors to pursue a more diversified curriculum including poetry and world music. Si was a deep thinker. Teachers spoke of his keen intellect, strong work ethic, commitment to excellence and quiet leadership. In the words of one teacher, “When you speak, people listen because what you share is meaningful.”

He found a second family at UPitt, where he developed an exceptional group of friends who loved, cherished and supported him even in the darker times. He was beloved and a source of light for the entire Pitt community. He enjoyed feathering the nest at his apartments in Pittsburgh, including building custom tables and a corn hole game with the school colors. He found brotherhood and took great pride in being a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, whose members supported him with incredible kindness and compassion. Silas proudly completed the Iron Phi challenge this past summer with his father to raise money for ALS. In the words of one of his best friends, “Silas was a brilliant and a truly amazing human. He brought a light to my day whenever I got to see him. The world lost an amazing young man who will be dearly missed.”

Silas struggled with depression for years with his family by his side. He was a warrior in battling against this disease, showing remarkable courage, resilience and grace. Silas taught us many lessons throughout his life. We now have a greater understanding of the disease of depression and the challenges related to treatment. We wish to deepen public awareness to reduce stigma and open people’s hearts to those individuals suffering from mental illness and their families. It is a disease. It is not a choice or weakness. Silas loved life. Silas loved his family. Silas loved his friends. Our love for him is fierce and FOREVER. Rest in peace, our sweet boy.

On October 30 at dusk, please join us and light a candle or lantern in celebration of Silas’ remarkable life. The service will be private.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to project HOePpnEr at or another organization promoting suicide awareness and prevention, some of which are listed on the resources page at project HOePpnEr.

The family is planning on establishing a scholarship at UPitt, the Iron Si, through his fraternity in honor of Silas’ legacy and in recognition of their strong bonds of friendship and support of Silas.

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