Mary M. Sykes (nee Bugner), age 88, entered into eternal life on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at Fairhaven in Whitewater with her family members by her side.
She was born on April 19, 1928, in Prairie View, IL the 4th child of 14 to John and Margaret Bugner. Baptized, confirmed, and married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Buffalo Grove, IL. On May 4, 1949 she married the love of her life, Charles R. Sykes, in a double wedding ceremony with her sister, Theresa and Joseph Raupp.
A woman of great faith, intelligence, compassion, and a constant servant of the Lord, she was the consummate volunteer.
As a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fort Atkinson since 1956, she was involved/held offices in: CCW, NCCW, and CCD, served as Eucharistic minister including distributing communion to the homebound, hospitalized, and more recently at Fairhaven.
She enjoyed running the St. Joe’s kitchen for activities and funerals. Mary led or was heavily involved in running the annual Family Fest at her church.
Mary will be remembered for her wonderful German Cranz coffee cake, which she made for bake sales and her children’s teachers, friends, and family. Mary’s grandchildren will always remember the reunion weekend that Grandma gave them a crash course on how to make German Cranz and then enjoyed the fruits of their labor. Mary was a gifted seamstress who worked for JC Penney for 10 years doing alterations. She made many of her daughter’s wedding dresses and bridesmaid’s dresses. She also made her son’s suits and many other clothing items. She belonged to the Fort Atkinson Piece Maker’s Quilting Guild.
Always in the thick of things, she looked for ways to serve the Lord and his children. She was a co-representative from St. Joe’s Parish for the Fort Food Pantry from 1990-2005; serving as president for three years.
Beginning in 1997, she volunteered as the activity coordinator for Reaching Out Respite in Fort Atkinson. She was an election worker for the city of Fort Atkinson and a member/volunteer for St. Vincent de Paul Society in Jefferson. Always wanting to be involved in her children’s lives, she volunteered in Scouting (both girls and boys) from 1963-1975.
In 1973, Mary was the first woman recipient in the Madison Diocese to earn the St. George Award for Scouting; the highest award given in scouting.
In between her volunteer work she was employed at the Fort Atkinson Convalescent Center (now Golden Living) as the Activity Director. She was awarded the Nursing Home Employee of the Year by the Wisconsin Nursing Home Association in 1987.
In 2003, she was presented with the Community Leadership Award from the Catholic Charities/Diocese of Madison. She also volunteered at Red Cross blood drives, and was a member of Friends of the Library where she read shelves and provided books to the homebound.
If having 12 children was not enough, Mary and Charles opened their hearts and home to children from Mississippi through the Self Help and Awareness Program.
She is survived by her 12 children; Becky (David) Vogel, Wheeling, IL; Dr. Vikee (Steve) Loudon, Delavan, Charles Jr. (Lynn) Sykes, Gwinn, MI; Mary (Judy) Sykes, Madison; John (Sharon) Sykes, Rhinelander; Harry (Donna) Sykes, Orlando, FL; Suzanne McKechnie, Ft. Atkinson; David (Barb) Sykes, Chatham, IL; Mark (Deb) Sykes, Ft. Atkinson; Barb (Clyde) Simonson, Wautoma; Martha Sykes, Ft. Atkinson; and Peggy (Todd) Bealhen, Palmyra. Mary is also survived by 29 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren, and siblings Clara Raupp, Marge (Jim) Vorisek, Barb (Gerry) Convery, Father Joe Bugner, Hank (Barb) Bugner, and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Her husband of 48 years, Charles, her parents, 8 siblings, and other family members preceded her in death.
Visitation will be held at Dunlap Memorial Home in Fort Atkinson on Friday, November 18, 2016 from 4-7:00 with Rosary at 6:30. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2016 starting at noon at St. Joseph’s Church in Fort Atkinson. Visitation will be 11:00 a.m. until time of mass. Burial will be at St. Joe’s Parish Cemetery following mass.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Fort Atkinson Food Pantry, St. Joseph’s School, Dwight Foster Public Library, or a charity of one’s choice.
**The family would like to thank the nurses, CNA’s, and staff at Fairhaven and Rainbow Hospice. Their love and care of mom gave us comfort and peace. Thank you!**