Donald Kunkel “Don” Sykes
February 10, 1929 – September 29, 2022
Donald “Don” Sykes was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and a skilled aeronautical engineer. He was a resident of Asbury Solomons Retirement Community in Maryland.
Don was born in Philadelphia, PA., and graduated from Upper Darby High School. While in high school, he was president of the senior class and co-captain of the track team. He attended Pennsylvania State University and graduated from West Point in 1953 with a commission in the U.S. Air Force. In 1961 he graduated from Purdue University with a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering.
In the 1960s Don along with others pioneered the on-orbit operation of AF satellites. Later, as a civilian he assisted the U.S. Navy in the procurement of missile systems. As a NASA contractor, he supported the operation of unmanned satellite systems. His final work before retirement involved planning for the International Space Station.
Don was an active member of the Masonic Fraternity. He was Past Master of his Lodge and a member of the Scottish Rite and Shriners. He was also active in the Order of the Eastern Star as a Past Patron and served as Deputy General Lecturer for six years.
Don enjoyed traveling with his beloved wife Clara, singing in the Asbury Solomons choir, gardening and cheering on his beloved Washington Redskins and Baltimore Orioles.
Don was predeceased by Clara (2018) following 65 years of marriage and his daughter Karen (2017). His survivors include his son Don Jr. (Cindy), grandchildren Ben (Christine) and Emily (David), great-grandchildren Kai, Ari and River, and nephew Steve.
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