Abbott Barnes “Hap” Sykes, age 87, of Odessa, Texas, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, at home on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, after a short illness preceded by a severe stroke on Aug. 24, 2004. He lost his ability to converse but remained upbeat and cheerful.
The youngest of nine children, Hap was born to Abbott Barnes Sykes Sr., and Samantha Taylor Sykes in Barber, Ark. He was raised mostly by his sisters following the death of his mother when he was 2 years old and attended country schools near Panama.
He served in the U.S. Navy Pacific Theater. Hap returned briefly to Oklahoma then attended baseball umpire school in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he was nicknamed “Hap.” He umpired in the Longhorn Baseball League of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.
Hap met Melba Preston in Big Spring, Texas, and they were married Oct. 18, 1951. He worked at Meads Bakery, Bailey Griffith Tire, the U.S. Post Office, and sold specialty advertising for Shaw-Barton.
The family moved to Odessa on July 4, 1959. In 1967, he began his own business, Hap Sykes Advertising Co. He also was involved in real estate.
He was very frugal with his personal expenses but extremely generous and giving toward everyone else. He spent his life helping others.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Melba, of the home; their daughter, Judy Dalton and husband, John, of Cloudcroft, N.M.; their sons, Barry Sykes and Steve Sykes, of Odessa and Nathan Sykes of Wilton Manors, Fla.; grandchildren, Stephanie Dalton Hines of Fort Worth, Texas; Michael Dalton and wife, Nikki, of Woodland Park, Colo.; and Jessica Dalton Wiggins and husband, Calvin, of Fort Worth; great-grandsons, Rowan Hines and Zane Dalton; great-granddaughter, Eisley Dalton; step-grandson, C.J. Wiggins; and many nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to express their appreciation to the staff of Hospice House Odessa and Home Hospice. They also acknowledge two special caregivers, Juanita Berzosa and Lupe Flores, for their kindness to Hap in his final days at home. Those hours will be treasured by his wife and children.
Visitation with the family will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30, at Sunset Funeral Home. Celebration of his life will be at 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, at Grace Christian Fellowship, Odessa, with burial at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Grace Christian Fellowship Missions.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Sunset Funeral Home. To sign the guest book, go to www.sunsetodessa.com .
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