THOMASTON - George W. R. Sykes, 93, died peacefully at home in Thomaston, Monday, August 13, 2007.
Born in Galeton, Pennsylvania, July 25, 1914, he was the son of George W. and Kathryn Rich Sykes. He grew up in the small lumbering town of Conifer, New York, in the Adirondack Mountains; where his family owned and operated the Emporium Forestry Company. After attending the small Conifer school, he went on to graduate from Philips Exeter Academy and Amherst College, class of 1938.
With a degree in English, he then taught English at a small boys school in Baltimore, Maryland, until the war effort called him in 1940. At this time he also met and married Nora Louise McCracken of Philadelphia. He joined the Army and together he and Nora were stationed in Columbia, SC. He was offered a chance to become a meteorologist for the Army Air Corps and meteorology became his life's occupation.
His first job as a meteorologist brought him and his now growing family to Portland in 1945, where he worked for the federal government as a weather observer. He then became a weather forecaster and was firmly settled in Portland until his retirement in 1975.
With many interest in history, literature and the environment around him, his family recalls many happy weekends exploring, fishing, and climbing mountains. He was active with the Portland "Landmarks" Association and did a great deal of research on old Portland buildings.
In the summers he would return with his family to his beloved Adirondack Mountains where he would tell of his many childhood adventures which included riding the rails of his grandfather's Grass River Railroad, and days at his favorite fishing hole. "Oh yes, and there was work!" He would recall the ice pond cutting and stacking ice in sawdust to be used locally and to be shipped by rail to New York City and points east. Also summers of working in the lumber yard, loading lumber onto rail cars.
After retiring, he and Nora moved to Thomaston where George would volunteer at the local library and read several times a week to the residents of the Knox Hotel. He was known locally for his love of poetry, especially that of Robert Frost and Emily Dickenson. Both evoke memories of his college days where Robert Frost was his teacher, and Emily Dickenson's home sits on a quiet street in Amherst, Massachusetts.
George was predeceased by his wife Nora, daughter Rachel A. Sykes in 2003, son Peter R. Sykes in 2004 and sister Jean Sykes LeCompte. He is survived by his daughter, Rebekah Huckle and her husband Robert of Cushing; four grandchildren, Sarah Savage and her husband Rick of Bethel, James Demer and his wife Sara Gray of Falmouth, Laura Huckle of Madison, Robert Huckle and his wife Terri of Waynesboro, PA; ten great-grandchildren, Taylor Savage, Ashley Savage, Ava Demer, Tucker Freeman, Brooke Freeman, Morgan Freeman, Shane Huckle, Lindsey Huckle, Jenna Huckle, and Leslie Huckle; as well as niece, Anne LeCompte Fisher and nephew, Andrew Philip LeCompte.
A Celebration of George's life will be held at 1:00 Friday afternoon, August 17, 2007 at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Main Street, Thomaston. The Reverend Peter Jenks will officiate. Interment will follow at Norton Cemetery, Cushing.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either Knox County Humane Society, P. O. Box 1294, Rockland, Maine 04841, or AIO Food Pantry, 70 Thomaston Street, Rockland, Maine 04841.
Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.
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