George Harold Sykes, 86, of Elizabethton, passed away on Thursday, February 21, 2013, at Johnson City Medical Center. George was the last of six sons born to John Milt Sykes and Fannie Lee Thompson Sykes, near the town of Erin, in middle Tennessee. George was born at home on the farm that his dad owned and was the last son to leave home when he joined the U.S. Army. George was too late to see combat in WWII, but was trained in the military as an airplane mechanic and participated in the Berlin Air Lift. He returned home to marry Velma Griffin Sykes, with whom he spent more than 60 years until her passing in August 2012. They had one son, Barry Steven Sykes, and spent the last 42 years in Elizabethton, Tenn., a town they truly loved.
George was trained by Tennessee Valley Authority as an operator and worked his way up through the ranks of TVA to retire as the superintendant of five hydroelectric dams in Northeast Tennessee. George became known as the guy who fixed clocks and was a member of the local clock club. He and a number of good buddies were also the core of Elizabethton’s Habitat for Humanity work crew for several years, and several of those good men also did volunteer work for ARM. In addition, George worked with SCORE in an advisory capacity. George and Velma were members of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton.
George was preceded in death by his wife, Velma G. Sykes, and five brothers, James Beverly Sykes, Allen Thompson Sykes, Charles Sykes, Thomas Edwin Sykes and John Milt Sykes. He leaves his son, Barry Steven Sykes, and daughter-in-law, Elizabeth McPherson, as well as numerous adoring in-laws, nieces and nephews.
The memorial service for Mr. Sykes will be conducted at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton with Rev. John Shuck officiating. The family will receive friends at the church from 2 until 3 p.m. Saturday, prior to the service. Music will be under the direction of Robert Reedy, Jim and Cheri Miller and Anne Sorrell. Those who prefer memorials in lieu of flowers, may make donations to First Presbyterian Church/Kenya Water Project, 119 West F. Street, Elizabethton, TN 37643; or to Holston Habitat for Humanity, 100 Greenwood Lane, Kingsport, TN 37663. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.tetrickfuneralhome.com and signing the guest book or by fax to (423) 542-9499.
Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton, is serving the Sykes family. Office: (423) 542-2232. Obituary Line: (423) 543-4917.