Cover photo for Paul Gordon Sykes's Obituary
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1938 Paul 2022

Paul Gordon Sykes

July 22, 1938 — September 4, 2022

Paul Sykes, 84, of Orange Beach (Ono Island), Alabama passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Sunday September 4, 2022.

Paul was born on July 22, 1938, in Brooklyn, New York to Cyril Gordon and Catherine Stimpson Sykes. The family also included his younger siblings David and Nancy. The family moved to Towson, Maryland when Paul was fifteen where he attended Towson Catholic High School. Paul graduated from the University of Maryland in 1962 where he was a Varsity swimmer, a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity, a member of the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves.

Paul’s life changed forever on December 17th 1960, when he went on a blind date with Joan Ann Kelly. That night began a love affair that would last the rest of their lives. They were married on July 11, 1964. Their family expanded with the arrivals of their two children, Courtney Kelly Sykes born on December 3, 1969, and Cyril “Chip” Gordon Sykes II born January 24, 1973.

Paul and Joan decided that they would move wherever opportunity presented itself. They lived in Richmond, Baltimore, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Nashville, Cleveland, Greenville (SC), Greensboro (NC) and Atlanta for twenty years before retiring and building their intracoastal dream home on Ono Island in Orange Beach, Alabama in 2005. During his time in Orange Beach, Paul was Commodore of The Point Yacht Club, President of the Ono Island Men’s Club, Board Member of the Orange Beach Coastal Arts Center, and he founded the Commodore’s Cup sailing regatta.

Paul had a forty-year business career, beginning with U.S. Steel where he became one of the youngest members of their senior management team. Paul was also an entrepreneur and had several business ventures including Sykes Associates, an independent manufacturers sales agency he owned and operated for twelve years.  

Paul believed in working hard and playing hard. In addition to being devoted to his career and family, Paul pursued interests in golf, skiing, racquetball, hunting, tennis and most importantly, boating. He bought his first sailboat which he named “JoCour” after his wife and daughter in 1986. He later earned a Coast Guard Master’s License and in 2004 sailed his boat “Bajan” over 2,000 miles from Hilton Head to Orange Beach via the Abacos and Bahamas.  

Paul was extremely proud of his four grandchildren, John Walker Dukes (January 1, 2000), Catherine Campbell Dukes (April 13, 2003), Scarlett Kelly Sykes (February 11, 2014) and Theodore Francis Sykes (January 8, 2020). Paul was also a fun loving uncle to Megan Welms, Jennifer Webster, Michael Sponseller, Chris and Michael Kelly and Kara Knell.

Paul Sykes lived a life of purpose, driven by love of his family that was centered around his wife Joan whom he cherished for sixty-two years. Paul lived with enthusiasm and optimism that was magnetic and brightened the world. In his darkest days towards the end of his life his positive spirit was unbreakable. Paul was loved by everyone who was fortunate enough to cross his path and he will be greatly missed.

There will be a memorial gathering at The Point Yacht Club in Josephine, Alabama on Sunday October 16th from 4:00 – 6:00.  

Paul’s family requests that in lieu of flowers or gifts donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Paul’s name which can be done here:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Paul Gordon Sykes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Sunday, October 16, 2022

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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