Dr. LeRoy I. Sykes, 82, passed away on January 3, 2019 after a very fruitful life.
He was born on June 4, 1936 in Wilkes-Barre, PA, the only child of Clara Dora Jackier and Harry Alter Sykes. Growing up in Nanticoke, PA LeRoy knew by age five that he wanted to be a physician. He graduated from Wyoming Seminary Preparatory School in 1953, where many swimming records still bear his name. He graduated from Villanova University in 1957 with a BS in Biology and earned his MS Physiology from the University of Illinois in 1959. Later that year he answered his country’s call and enlisted in the US Army. He then joined the PA National Guard where he remained on Physician Reserve until his retirement.
From 1959-61 LeRoy was Director of Pharmacology for William H. Rorer, Inc. where he designed and managed the research laboratories and animal boarding facilities in Philadelphia. Several drugs released during his tenure are still available.
LeRoy attended Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine from 1961-65. In 1965 he completed his Internship and began his Residency in Internal Medicine at the Osteopathic Hospital in Portland, ME. In 1968 he completed his Residency at the Community General Osteopathic Hospital in Harrisburg, PA.
In 1963 LeRoy married Helen Arlene Zeigler of Philadelphia and they had four beautiful children, Mark, Michael, Erick and Carla.
In 1968 LeRoy Irving Sykes, D.O. entered Private Practice at the Middletown Medical Center outside Harrisburg. LeRoy was an innovator, always looking to make things better for his profession, patients and community. In the early 1970’s Dr. Sykes joined two colleagues in creating the first Cardiac Rehabilitation Program in the country. He was a Senior Medical Examiner for the FAA and USAF. His honest evaluation of medical malpractice cases brought him to the attention of the legal community, where he accepted an invitation to membership on the PA Bar Institute Faculty.
In 1984 LeRoy married Elisa M. Soergel (nee Haire). Dr. Sykes retired from active practice in 1995 when he refused to lower his quality of medical care as politically legislated. After retiring to Flagstaff, Dr. Sykes continued to advocate for patients in the medico-legal field and was appointed a Special Master for the Superior Court of Coconino County.
LeRoy loved poetry and music from an early age. An accomplished Toastmaster, he always had the perfect story for the situation or joke to lighten everyone’s mood. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and Rosicrucian. The drummer for his own band in college, he started playing piano while in practice. Dr. Sykes was a founding member of The Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz and served on the Board of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. When he and Elisa were not attending live events, they were listening to music and walking their beloved Samoyeds.
LeRoy’s life truly embodied his belief in a benevolent God and that every person, patient and animal should be treated with dignity and respect. He was deeply committed to Jewish tradition, rejoicing in all of God’s creation and striving to express Jewish values and ethics in the way he lived. LeRoy departed this world peacefully and full of happiness, knowing that the secret to happiness is helping others.
LeRoy is survived by his wife of 34 years, Elisa, and three of his children, Mark (Karen) of Phoenix, Erick (Carla Lynn) of Tampa and Carla Beth (Mark) of Philadelphia. His son Michael passed away two years ago from a rare cancer. A Celebration of LeRoy’s Life, a life filled with love, music, light, healing and hope will be held at a later date.