Bob J. Sykes went to his eternal home in Heaven to be with Jesus on December 24, 2016. Mr. Sykes was born on November 23, 1934, in Ft. Smith, Arkansas to Preston and Mary Sykes. He spent his formative years in Ft. Smith and attended Ft. Smith High School. After graduation, Bob attended Oklahoma University where he was a proud member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
Bob married Gayle Sykes, also of Ft. Smith, and together they created a life that far exceeded their small town dreams. Bob began his career with Haggar slacks, in Dallas, TX, where he was promoted to Vice President of Sales. After 13 years with the company, Bob and Gayle moved with their two children to Hot Springs, AR. Mr. Sykes dedicated much of his life to the betterment of Hot Springs through his civic mindedness and numerous, innovative investments, which included being the founder and first president of Magic Springs theme park. Mr. Sykes also began the Fourth of July tradition of shooting off fireworks from his lake home, which became so popular with the locals that for years he put on the annual Lake Hamilton fireworks show. In addition to owning and operating many successful businesses in the Hot Springs area, Bob served as President of the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, for which he was honored by President Bill Clinton for his distinguished and exceptional service to the city of Hot Springs. In business, Mr. Sykes was known for his innovative ideas, keen negotiating skills, no nonsense attitude, and for always keeping his word.
Although he loved business, real estate, and cars, Bob’s love for his family was unmatched. Mr. Sykes took more pride in the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren than anything else. Always there to listen and advise, give you a compliment or the ever-present handkerchief from his shirt pocket, Bob’s greatest legacy is the family he leaves behind, including son, Terry Sykes, and Donna Sykes of Albuquerque, NM; son, Richard Sykes, and wife Darlene Sykes, of Hot Springs, AR; granddaughter, Kendall Sykes, and husband Kacey Butcher, of Oklahoma City, OK; grandson, Joshua Sykes, and wife Nicole Sykes, of Albuquerque; granddaughter, Sarah Sykes, of Albuquerque; grandson, Courtland Sykes of Hot Springs; and granddaughter, Story (Sykes) Canon, and husband Darron, of Hot Springs. He is also survived by five beloved great-grandchildren and numerous cousins and friends. Mr. Sykes is preceded in death by his parents, Preston and Mary Sykes, and former wife, business partner and lifelong friend, Gayle Sykes. Pallbearers will be Courtland Sykes, Joshua Sykes, Kacey Butcher, Stan Robbins, Randy Robbins, and Lance Bond.
Bob often said, “Always leave things better than you find them,” and he remained true to this principle in his business and personal relationships throughout his life. For that reason, it is with profound sadness, yet tremendous pride, that we now say, “Mr. Sykes, you left this world better than you found it.”
A funeral is scheduled for January 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at the Evans Memorial Chapel, Pocola, OK. An interment at Woodlawn Memorial Park, Ft. Smith, AR to follow the service. Visitation with the family will be held on January 2, 2017 at the Evans & Miller Funeral Home, Pocola, OK, from 4-7 p.m. All are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to St. Jude’s Hospital or your local animal shelter.