After decades of trying, Mainer gets book published weeks before his death

Illustrator of “Like Cats and Dogs” shares what the experience was like
Before his death this spring, retired teacher Skeel of Readfield had one last lesson to share.
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 5:23 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BREWER, Maine (WABI) - If you knew your time on Earth was running short, what’s the one last thing you’d like to accomplish?

For one Readfield man, it was getting the book he’d worked on for decades finally published.

This spring, Richard A. Skeel’s dream came true just weeks before he passed away.

“I had to tell somebody about this because this has just been such an oddity, to have this race against time that I didn’t know I was up against for my author,” said David Priesing, illustrator, “Like Cats and Dogs.”

Before his death this spring, retired teacher Skeel of Readfield had one last lesson to share.

“It’s like he gave us a gift to share with the rest of the world that is really kind of meaningful right now with the way things are in the United States, with as much acrimony as is occurring,” Priesing said. “This is something that that brings people together. It’s a story about love and friendship and companionship, and harmony, of community.”

The story isLike Cats and Dogs.”

By the time illustrator David Priesing of Brewer met Skeel in 2000, the author had already been working on the book for 20 years.

The duo spent the next two decades working to get it out.

“We finally got it published in April. I mean, that’s when it actually could hold a book in your hand. And then June 1, the author passes away. So, he had 60 days to hold this in his hands and feel the accomplishment,” Priesing said.

Skeel’s wife Martha says those final days were filled with pride.

Priesing, too, is proud of what they accomplished and happy he could help Skeel’s legacy live on.

“To me, this has just been a nest egg that had to be sent out into the world. And, it was like a pumpkin seed that I’ve been holding on to to keep from moldering until I had a time and a place to plant it. And this is the time and the place. It’s finally been planted,” Priesing said.

“Like Cats and Dogs” is available at BookStacks in Bucksport, or online through Amazon, Target, or Barnes and Noble.