Skinker was a 1905 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and enlisted in Battery A, St. Louis Light Artillery of the Missouri National Guard. He was serving in France with Company I, 138th Infantry Regiment—a federalized Missouri National Guard company under the 35th Division—when he was killed in action on September 26, 1918, at Cheppy, France. On the date of his death, he led an attack on enemy machine-gun positions, seizing am munition and feeding an automatic rifle until he was killed. His conspicuous gallantry earned him the Medal of Honor. The veteran is interred in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis. Skinker Boulevard in St. Louis is named in honor of the late veteran.