Audrey Hope Benedict Sykes, of Belvidere, New Jersey, passed away on December 31, 2021 at St. Luke’s Warren Hospital after a brief illness. She passed away two days after her 99th birthday. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Born December 29, 1922 in Galesburg, Illinois, she was a daughter of Harry L. and Bertha Nell (nee Howe) Benedict. Upon graduating from high school in Galesburg, she received a scholarship to attend Knox College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. degree in 1944. She received a scholarship to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied botany and obtained a Master of Science degree in 1945. It was there that she met her future husband, Stanton Sykes, who was attending college through the Army Specialized Training Program. They were married in 1946.
Trained as a lab technician, Audrey worked in several hospitals and then assisted her husband in his medical practice, both with lab work and bookkeeping. She was a loving and devoted housewife and mother to her husband and two children.
Audrey was a member of the United Presbyterian Church in Belvidere for many years, where she was an Elder and a long-time Sunday school teacher. She was on the Book Committee for the Belvidere Public Library for many years, where she also served briefly as treasurer. She volunteered at the Wishing Well gift shop at Warren Hospital for over 25 years and was an active member of the Warren County Medical Auxiliary.
A true lover of nature, Audrey delighted in combing the beach for shells and searching the woods for wildflowers. She was a student of ecology long before it became a topic of widespread concern. She loved reading, crossword puzzles, watching mysteries, and birdwatching. Gifted with her hands, she sewed many lovely outfits for herself and her children, made beautiful rugs, and mastered chair caning and furniture refinishing. In her younger years, she enjoyed playing bridge and golf with her husband and friends.
Audrey is survived by her husband of 75 years, Stanton Henry Sykes, M.D., of Belvidere; a daughter, Stephanie Ann Sykes Stover and husband, Gerald, of Bethlehem, PA; a son, Jeffrey Stanton Sykes M.D., of Sergeant Bluff, IA; and three grandchildren, Elizabeth Sykes, Andrew Sykes, and Katie Sykes. She was predeceased by a sister, Lillian A. Benedict and a brother, Donald L. Benedict.
Memorial service details for Audrey will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to: United Presbyterian Church of Belvidere, 224 Mansfield Street, Belvidere, NJ 07823, or The National Audubon Society, ATTN: Donations, 225 Varick Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10014.
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