Phyllis Ann Sykes, long-time resident and city councilwoman of Marion, Kentucky, passed away on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. Born in Chicago, in 1947, Phyllis was the daughter of Byron and Mable Sykes, from whom she learned a work ethic that she would carry into everything she did.
Phyllis was known by all, and especially those of Marion, as a teacher. After moving with her family to Murray, Kentucky, Phyllis attended Murray State University and majored in education. After graduation, she would find her home, both in and out of the classroom, in Marion. Sometimes teaching multiple generations of the same family, Phyllis took pride and found her joy in life in the molding of young minds. She was able to both observe the potential in her young students and see that potential come to fruition as they aged.
Teaching was just the foray into public service for Phyllis. Her connections to and love for both the city and people of Marion would lead Phyllis to serve her community in any way she could. Even prior to her service on Marion’s city council, Phyllis would serve her church and community faithfully and dutifully. Her service in the Marion United Methodist Church, Fohs Hall, the Crittenden County Education Association, the United Methodist Mountain Mission, and in the individual lives of countless friends, family, and community members in need, will have lasting impacts for generations to come.
Phyllis’s devotion and impact as a public servant not only characterized her life, but will be the resounding theme of her absence. From the beginning of her service on the Marion City Council in 2016, Phyllis never slowed her pace. Inspired by Kentucky’s first and only female Governor, Phyllis was engaged in a mayoral candidacy at the time of her death – A public servant till the very end.
Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents, Byron and Mable Sykes of Murray, KY; her brother, Ronald Sykes of Murray, KY; her sister Bessie Harrison of Murray KY; her Nephew Donald Harrison of Mayfield, KY; and lifelong friend and mentor, Helen Moore of Marion, KY. She is survived by four Nephews (James Harrison, Ronnie Harrison, Mike Sykes, and James Sykes) and three nieces (Lisa Ramsey, Dawn Sykes, and Kim Yarbrough); as well as all of the residents, students, and friends in the City of Marion, whom she never stopped serving.
In accordance with Phyllis’s wishes, there will be no funeral service. She instead wished that the memories of her would be those of her service and devotion to others. If anyone wishes to express their sympathies or condolences, the family asks them to consider making a donation in Phyllis’s name to any of the many organizations that she served in life.