DYKES, Terry, 89, a long-time Plant City resident, passed away peacefully on Aug. 8, 2013, in Crystal River, Florida. He was born on April 15, 1924, to Thomas Alfred and Daisy Hutchinson Dykes. He was raised in the Columbus and Albany, Georgia areas with his brother, Thomas A. Dykes, Jr., and sister, Betty Jean (Dykes) Benard. He joined the US Navy when he was seventeen and served for four years during World War II, surviving the sinking of the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier during the battle of Midway (June 1942). He sustained injuries from shrapnel to his back and right leg when the Yorktown was hit by a Japanese bomb. A lengthy recuperation followed in a hospital. He received a Purple Heart for his war service. As he told his war story to others, he would always credit God for sparing his life that day. While on leave, he met his first wife, Peggy Mooty. They married in 1945 and were blessed with four children: daughter, Billie Strickland (Don); son, Terry Mooty Dykes (Barbara); daughter, Peggy Ann Reed (Jim); and daughter, Betty Jo Kofmehl (Jimmy). He worked in the welding supply business for Air Products and moved to Tampa in 1964. In 1965, Mr. Dykes married his second wife, JoNell Smith Williams. They were married for forty-eight years. They attended Knights Baptist Church in Plant City, and he served as a deacon for many years. Terry Dykes was preceded in death by his parents, Alfred and Daisy Dykes; his brother, Thomas Dykes, Jr.; his first wife, Peggy Dykes; and his second wife, JoNell Dykes. Mr. Dykes is survived by his sister, his four children, twelve grandchildren, and thirty-five great-grandchildren. A graveside funeral was held Tue., Aug. 13, 2013, at 10:00 AM, at Memorial Park Cemetery in Plant City. It included military honors (playing of taps, salutes and condolences from current military personnel, and the American flag covering his casket being ceremoniously presented to his grandson, Samuel Terry Dykes, TSgt., USAF). After the funeral, family members traveled to Lecanto, Florida, where Betty's church, Providence Baptist Church, provided a bountiful lunch. Two articles about Terry Dykes recount in more detail his survival of WWII. One appeared as the front page main story in Plant City's newspaper, The Courier, on May 27, 2004. The writer, Tony Marrero, entitled it "Remembering the Midway." The second article appeared posthumously as a "Letter to the Editor" in the Plant City Times & Observer for August 22, 2013. Allan Gehring had interviewed Mr. Dykes on June 6, 2009, and honored him by calling him a "hero." Family members of Mr. Dykes appreciate having these two tributes to him.
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Published in TBO.com on Sept. 16, 2013