Stephen (Steve) Carpenter Sykes passed away at 2 a.m. Sept. 7, 2022 at Jefferson Healthcare Medical Center in Port Townsend, Washington.
If you had the fortune to be in the company of a man recalling tales woven around unique friends, recounting experiences in locations near and far, and musing about the future of the planet, while evoking laughter with his sharp wit and humor, then you would have known Steve Sykes.
Steve was an extraordinary singer/songwriter. He shared his vast repertoire on social media and at neighborhood gatherings, accompanied on one of his ever-evolving collection of custom-built guitars. An excellent photographer, he had a discerning eye for birds, and local landscapes. Steve generously shared his passion for music and photography by supporting luthiers and students of photography. His Facebook friends and neighbors were often treated to a “Sykes Song of the Day”; a cover song or a topical original composition.
He was born in Washington D.C. at Walter Reed Hospital on July 25, 1947 to George Sykes and Katherine Carpenter Sykes. The son of an Air Force general officer, Steve was a “military brat” and spent his formative years in Alexandria, Virginia; Ankara, Turkey; and Frankfurt, Germany. He enlisted in the Army in 1967, took basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, serving as an MP and staff aide until his honorable discharge in 1969.
Steve studied at Georgia Tech and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in geography. From there his wanderlust and enthusiasm for adventure took him many places. Steve spent a winter in a remote cabin in the vicinity of Talkeetna, Alaska working for the U.S. Fish and Game Service. An entrepreneur, he ran a NorthFace store in the Seattle U District; founded a custom woodworking business in San Antonio, Texas; opened a rural real estate company in Sandpoint, Idaho; ran a music store in Durango, Colorado; and opened an art gallery in Mancos, Colorado. Along the way he made many lifelong friends who discovered that he enriched their lives as much as they enriched his.
In 2012 he discovered Loreto, a small city in Baja Sur, Mexico. He bought a house there with his long-time partner, Scotty, and began splitting his time between Mexico and the Seaview neighborhood of Port Townsend. In PT he enjoyed early morning treks to Fort Worden, breakfast at local venues, music with friends and afternoons on his porch.
Stephen Sykes was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, George. He is survived by his longtime partner, Scotty Regester and ex-wife, Jean Gerth.
A gathering of local friends will be held in Steve’s memory, but no formal service will be held as per Steve’s request.