Leonard Skinner, the man that inspired the name of the mid-1970’s rock group, Lynyrd Skynyrd, passed away September 20 at the age of 77. He passed away in his sleep at the St. Catherine Laboure Manor in Jacksonville, Fl. He had Alzheimers disease.
Skinner was a teacher and basketball coach at Robert E. Lee High School, the alma mater of the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. As the story goes, Mr. Skinner sent the boys to the principal’s office for having long hair. The boys later took his name and formed their rock band.
Many years after the incident, Skinner’s son, also named Leonard, was listening to the ablum “Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd.” His father discovered it and eventually made the connection and became friends with some of the band members.
His family says that Skinner did not always like being associated with the band and being in the limelight, but he did make some appearances with the band and allowed them to perform at a bar he owned. Also, Skinner’s son says that their family made some very good family friends with fans and other people associated with the band, something they truly appreciate.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was popular in the mid-1970’s and had hits such as “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.”