Obituary of John Joseph Sykes IV
John Joseph Sykes IV, 77, of Longport, NJ and Jupiter, FL, passed away peacefully on December 27, 2020.
Born in Quincy, Illinois in 1943 while his father was stationed in the Navy, John attended Saint James School in Ventnor, Holy Spirit High School in Atlantic City, Villanova University for Mechanical Engineering, and The University of Virginia for his M.B.A.
After graduating from the University of Virginia, John worked for Turner Construction in Philadelphia, Meadville, and Pittsburg before returning home to run his family business in 1969. He assumed the presidency of John Sykes Company, Inc. from his father in 1978, and thus became the fourth John Sykes to lead the largest roofing and sheet metal company in South Jersey, which was established by his great-grandfather in 1901. He led the company through the Casino Era and was responsible for the roofing, sheet metal, and ductwork at the old and new Atlantic City Convention Centers, Resorts, Bally’s Park Place, Trump Castle, Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Majal, Sands, Golden Nugget, Claridge, Tropicana, Borgata, and Revel, among other large projects in the area. He considered all those who worked at John Sykes Company to be family and cherished the opportunity to continue its legacy.
A noted life-long athlete, John lettered in baseball, basketball and football at Holy Spirit. He captained the baseball team, which achieved all-county status in 1961. In 1966 he won the Welterweight Boxing Championship at the University of Virginia. In the 1970s, John was a high-ranking squash player who competed in three National Championship series. Through the 1970s and 1980s, he was a competitive distance runner and completed eight New York City Marathons, the Boston Marathon, multiple Wilkes-Barre Triathlons, and the Half-Ironman distance Kauai Triathlon in Hawaii.
John’s favorite place on earth was Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, ‘The Town Time Forgot,’ where his mother Nancy’s family has long-held a summer vacation cottage. One of his greatest joys was running and biking around the Eagles Mere Lake daily and hosting the annual Lake Run, dedicated to his brother, Donald.
John suffered with a vascular condition for the final 20 years of his life and required amputation of both legs. Though presented with this physical and mental challenge, John never gave up. A stoic by nature, he turned pain into purpose and desire into initiative. John achieved a multitude of success, though none more impressive than his obvious strength and selflessness in the face of struggle.
John fittingly passed on the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist, which makes many smile as ‘Saint John’ was the nickname given to him by close friends.
John also served as a Lifeguard on the Margate Beach Patrol, Director of the Philadelphia Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association, Director of Citizens Bank Advisory Board, Director of Resorts International Racquet Club, Vice President of the Roofer’s Mart of the Delaware Valley, Vice President of John Sykes Home improvement Corporation, Member of the Atlantic City Rotary since 1970 (Paul Harris Fellow), Board Member of The Donny Fund, and was one of the founding members of the Boardwalk Runners and South Jersey Triathlon Club.
John is survived by his wife Deborah Godshall Sykes, daughter Erin A. Sykes, son John J. Sykes V, brother Thomas J. Sykes (Peggy) and Anne Sykes McCabe (Jim). He is predeceased by his father John J. Sykes III, mother Nancy Burke Sykes, brother Donald J. Sykes, and loyal canine companion, Finnegan.
Visitation will be Friday, January 1, 2020 from 4pm-7pm at the George H. Wimberg Funeral Home, 1707 New Rd, Linwood, NJ. An in-person Catholic mass will be held on Saturday January 2, 2020 at 10am at Holy Trinity Parish: Blessed Sacrament Church in Margate, NJ with social distancing and mask requirements. A virtual livestream mass option is available as well by logging on to Facebook and opening Debbie Sykes’ or Erin Sykes’ personal page during the service to view.
A celebration of life will be held in June during the Donny Fund Day. Details to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Donny Fund (thedonnyfund.org) c/o The John and Nancy Sykes Foundation, 1000 Bay Drive, Pleasantville, NJ 08232.To plant a tree in memory of John Sykes IV, please visit Tribute Store