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Michael E Sykes, 77, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, formerly of Branford, passed peacefully on Feb. 28, after an illness. He was the son of Herbert and Charlotte Sykes of Branford and spent his formative years there growing up near the seashore.
He attended several different colleges until finally landed at his alma mater Quinnipiac University in Hamden. In his early years, he often spent summers with his sister Patty and their family at Billy Ward Pond in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, where he met many dear friends. After college, Michael lived in downtown Boston for some years, enjoying its history, activity, and many cultural activities. His family enjoyed visiting him on Charles Street and walking through the Boston Common.
Michael always had a passion for history and travel and during his life traveled extensively throughout Europe with friends and family. He had a special love for London and anglophile history, especially the monarchy. He collected quite a collection of books, art, decorations, and mementos from around the world. He loved giving away his possessions in his later years to friends and family for wedding and Christmas gifts. Michael’s other passion was gardening, both in Branford and later at his Patty’s home in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
He also enjoyed watching tennis matches, both on television and attending live matches. While living in Branford he worked for the town in human relations and also dove into civic organizations, volunteering tirelessly at the Branford Historical Society nd Community House, and served many years as president of Friends of the Blackstone Memorial Library. In 2000, he was honored by the town for his volunteer work including spearheading the annual Friends of the Blackstone Library Book Sale. As a history buff, he enjoyed Colonial times and could be seen dressed in Colonial attire. After taking care of his mother in Branford for many years he settled in Fitchburg, Massachusetts to be near family and he later enjoyed and worked as a guard with his sister Patricia at the Fitchburg Art Museum.
Michael will be missed and was greatly beloved by his sisters Charlotte Sykes and Patricia Oksanen and his nephews and nieces, Douglas, Samuel and Bridget Hill and Elizabeth Sullivan, Thomas Oksanen, and Ann Wilkins, together with their children. He had many cousins and friends who kept in touch and loved him dearly.
He loved collecting Branford history and artifacts in his later years and sharing them with his sisters and enjoyed getting letters and pictures from his nephew in Toronto. His peaceful, artistically decorated home was filled with beautiful plants, artwork, prints, and books from around the world, which gave him much comfort during his last years.
A private family service will be held at a later date. There are no calling hours.
Lavery Chartrand Alario Funeral Home, 99 Summer Street, Fitchburg, Massachusetts is in care of arrangements.