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SYKES, Gerald (Gerry) James

November 1, 1930 – Hedley, British Columbia
March 24, 2019 – Calgary, Alberta

Gerald Sykes of Calgary, AB passed away on March 24, 2019 at the age of 88 years.

Gerry grew up in Swift Current, Moose Jaw and Keremeos, BC. In 1951, he graduated from UBC with degrees in mathematics and physics and was recruited into the burgeoning oil and gas exploration industry. A talented geophysicist, he left from his chosen home of Calgary, with his bold plaid sports jackets, to explore for oil and gas close to home in Alberta, Saskatchewan and further a field in NWT, Wyoming, Tunisia, Bangladesh and around the world. He was good at it. On the strength of his many successes he rose to Chief Geophysicist in a major Canadian oil company.

In 1959, Gerry and Joyce settled in a young community then emerging from the farmlands of southern Calgary, Haysboro, where they took on the challenges of the day: raising their energetic children, being foundational members of St. Andrew’s United Church, leading Cubs and coaching hockey. In 1994, Joyce and Gerry renewed their commitment to each other and started a new chapter in their lives, creating a new home in the, again, new community of Evergreen, where they explored the wonders of the Fish Creek Park which they both cherished.

Gerry was a lifelong Liberal, running for the provincial Liberal party and working tirelessly on many provincial and federal campaigns. Gerry golfed, badly, but with great gusto and a love of golf, he won every game; not with a score but with his embrace of friendships and the simple pleasure of doing it. Some would say that Gerry was his happiest when he played his grand piano giving life to his collection of vintage sheet music. He was a long-time supporter of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, a loyal member of Red Deer Lake United Church, and a lover of Siamese cats, including his latest companions Linus and Morrie. Gerry loved his family and deeply missed his great love, Joyce.

We celebrate the life of Gerald Sykes (alternating from Jerry to Gerry), husband, father and grandfather. Predeceased by his beloved wife Joyce in 2013, Gerry is survived by daughter Kim (Paul Burns); son Ward (Melissa Shaw); three grandchildren, Kegan and Sinead Burns and Taryn Sykes; as well as his sister Virginia Sykes Hunter.

A private family celebration will be held at a later date. Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Gerald Sykes, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road S.E., Calgary, AB, T2X 3J3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. I knew Gerry through the Liberals. To meet and work with Gerry exemplified one of the rewards of a person becoming involved in politics. He was the type of person who makes one proud of the democratic process.

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  2. Dave and Shirley Hastings

    Ward and Kim,

    So sorry to learn of your Dad’s passing. When reminiscing, we have thought of Gerry and Joyce many times over the past years – all of the great memories of Liberal events in Calgary South. They were great contributors and could always be counted on to step up. We hope that your memories will help you get through this difficult time.

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  3. Dear Ward,
    Deepest condolences on the passing of your Father. Thinking of you and your family at this time.
    Ian and Cindy Downing

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  4. I have fond memories of Gerry from when I first started at Sask Oil in Calgary. They had just taken over the company that he worked for and had stayed on. Had a few enjoyable golf games with him and shared his love for geophysics.

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  5. Kenneth Ludlow

    I first met Gerry in the 1980’s through a mutual acquaintance, the late Steve MacAdam.
    Gerry became a business client of mine and a good friend for the next 30 years. Please accept my condolences.

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  6. I had the privilege of working with Gerry & Joyce for many years, on a wide variety
    of Liberal projects and campaigns. Gerry is responsible for many fond memories and
    truly epitomized a responsible work ethic in politics. Whether as a past riding President, Candidate or fellow Board member, Federal or Provincial, I found that when Gerry said he would look after something – you could mark it as ‘done!’ He served his Church, Community and Canada with pride and honour.

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  7. Frances Lilian Porter

    We knew Gerry and Joyce as good neighbors, and also knew them as fellow congregants at Red Deer Lake United Church, where we attended his beloved wife’s memorial service. Gerry will be missed! We loved his laugh, his warmth, and his appreciation of life’s finer things! Our condolences to all his family.
    Fran & Andy Porter

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  8. Rob & Rosemary Howard

    So sorry to hear of Gerry’s passing, he was such an interesting man …..a life well lived, full of adventure and memories for his family. He was part of the church family at Red Deer Lake United Church and will be sorely missed, RIP Gerry

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  9. Valerie Fulcher McLean

    Though as cousins we lived 2000 miles apart and had 20 years difference in our ages, Gerry and I saw each other through the years when my family happened to be in Canada visiting or he was down in Arkansas visiting us! We would talk on the phone over the years as sand was slipping through the hourglass. He loved his wife, Joyce, was so proud of his children and grandchildren, and faithful to his cats! He will be missed greatly. Prayers to all my Canadian family.

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  10. Garry and Doreen McKINNON

    Ward, Kim & Family Members
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of great loss. Gerry was a good friend and a special member of our Red Deer Lake United Church community. We have many good memories of our associations with him and Joyce, prior to her passing. As a couple, they were wonderful role models for all of us as they shared a very full and purposeful life together and embodied, through their actions, their Christian faith and enthusiasm for living. When we visited Gerry we admired how he made a special point of lovingly caring for Joyce’s cats. As well, we admired how he continued to be a very active member of our church community. Gerry was a good man and we know that you can take comfort in many good memories of a life well lived and comfort in knowing he is now at peace.
    Garry and Doreen McKinnon

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  11. Joyce and Keith Conley

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Ward and Kim and members of their family .
    We knew Gerry and Joyce as loyal members of Red Deer Lake United Church. Gerry was always at church early for Sunday service, where we had many great conversations about Gerry taking care of his cats, playing his grand piano and going on his walks. Gerry spoke fondly and often of Joyce and her crafts she created.
    Gerry will be sorely missed.
    Rest in Peace Gerry.

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  12. Joan Fraser was a friend of both Joyce and Gerry – my sympathy to their family they will be togerther again

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  13. Honourable Nick Taylor

    Peg and I will miss Gerry’s enthusiasm and energy but look back with happiness on the many hours we spent with him and Joyce bucking the anti- Liberal hordes.
    He was a good fellow and we hope he and Joye are up there knocking on doors.
    May God Bless

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