Funeral services for Walter P. Sykes, M.D., 89, of Sam Rayburn will be 2:00 p.m, Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at St. Michaels Catholic Church with burial to follow in Evergreen Cemetery. Visitation will be 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at Stringer & Griffin Funeral Home in Jasper, with Rosary at 6:00 p.m. Dr. Walter P. Sykes, born Wladiplaw Prete Sinkiewicz, known to his grandchildren and great- grandchildren as 'Papa Doc', was born on February 22, 1924 in Boston, Mass. His father was a polish immigrant and a WWW I veteran. His mother was from Lithuania. He is preceded in death by his parents, his youngest daughter Sue, his oldest granddaughter Kathryn and his beloved wife Betty and brother Joseph. He spoke often of his early childhood years in a 'rough Irish neighborhood of South Boston. With a partial scholarship and his parents both working two jobs, Walter attended Boston Latin School. This was an excellent early educational experience that would serve him well in later years. He felt there is always more to learn and had a firm belief in an education. After eighth grade, his family moved to Los Angeles in hopes of more employment opportunities. Like many people of the time, his family struggled through the depression years of the 1930's and it left an impact on his life. He continued to excel in his academics and athletics in school. Walter had a natural talent on the violin and in fact spent his last year of High School playing with a locally popular country western band in Los Angeles. He had a promising future with music however, because his mother was ill for a time, Walter told her that he wanted to become a doctor so he could help her feel better. Walter attended Pasadena Jr. College majoring in Pre-Med when our country was attacked at Pearl Harbor. Like many other men and women, he answered our country's call and enlisted in the United States Navy
. He was assigned to the United States Marine Corp as a Corpsman with the 3rd Marine Division. He served in many South Pacific campaigns and was attached to the Marine Raiders at Guadalcanal. He remained in the service through the Korean War
and received recognition and decoration for his service. Walter had a tremendous lifelong pride for his country and especially the Marine Corp. The military recognized a natural instinct in Walter for his medical and surgical abilities. Thus, Walter was ordered to return state side, finish his pre-med and attend Medical School. It was only with great reluctance that he left his outfit and returned to the US. I was literally in a fox hole with a machine gun on one day and then sitting in a classroom at the University of Texas
the next day. He later graduated with his MD from the University of Oklahoma. It was his first day at the University of Texas that he attended a dance and saw a beautiful red headed lady across the room that he told his friend he would marry her one day. He introduced himself to Betty Ann Whitson and thus the love story began. They were blessed with 59 years of marriage, 6 children, 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. After Walter graduated med school, they moved to Beaumont and opened the first fully integrated Medical Office in Beaumont, Texas. He had a special dedication to the poor and disadvantaged. He continued to work up to about 8 weeks ago. Throughout his life as a husband, daddy and a physician, Walter had an extremely powerful demeanor of confidence, knowledge and authority. He was loved so dearly by his countless friends and family. It was obvious that being a part of his life or just being around him was to feel genuinely safe and secure. Papa Doc was a true professional and a true gentleman in every sense. He was a lifetime member of the Texas Medical Association and a founding member of the Texas Association of Family Practice. He was a lifelong devout and active Roman Catholic. His life was focused on God and serving others. He loved his family deeper than anyone could imagine. Dr. Sykes career in Beaumont began at Hotel Dieu and St. Therese Hospitals. It was with deep pride that he continued his medicine at Baptist Hospital with some of the finest medical staff he had an opportunity to work with. This association continued for 46 years. In 1993, after moving to Sam Rayburn, he continued to work at Jasper Memorial Hospital and the Newton Family Clinic in Kirbyville. A Board Certified Family Physician, some of his fondest memories included delivering uncountable babies and countless surgeries. Our family would like to extend our deepest sincere thanks and love to all of our father's longtime friends as well as the many patients that he cared for over this long career. Our father loved his patients and felt committed to give them the best medical care he could. We offer a special thank you to the staff at the Kirbyville clinic and Japser Hospital. Papa Doc loved you all and enjoyed working with you. Further we wish to sincerely thank the kind staff at Harbor Hospice. Walter was admitted to Baptist Hospital and said he felt like he was at his 'home away from home' knowing the care was the best. A special thank you to the compassion, the respect and honor given to him by the nurses and staff at Baptist Hospital. Walter is survived by 4 sons, Peter Michael Sykes of Winnie, Patrick D. Sykes (Laurie) of Colmesneil, Timothy S. Sykes (Barbara) of Spring, and Miles K. Sykes (Madlyn) of Sour Lake. Daughter: Elizabeth Anne Hillin (Nester) of Beaumont. 15 Grandchildren: Taryn, Christian, Patrick, Whitney, Peyton, Kevin, Starbuck, Aloyious, Maggie and Myla, Christopher and Anastasia, James Bose, and Libby Hillin, Jessica Hillin Johnson. 16 Great-Grandchildren: Grace, Dominic , Annabella, Aiden, Amelia, McKenzi, Adeline, Emma, Lily, Brody, Chase, Audrey, Logan, Orien, Hannah. And daughter- in-laws: Camille Sykes and Margaret Sykes. In lieu of flowers, the family would suggest a contribution to
. Services are under the direction of Stringer & Griffin Funeral Home of Jasper.