BLACK RIVER, NY — Albert L. “Thumper” Sykes IV, 59, of 29822 NYS Route 3, Black River, passed away peacefully June 6, 2020, at his home where he was surrounded by his family and under the care of Hospice of Jefferson County. In 2017, Al was diagnosed with cancer and put up a valiant fight over the past three years.
Born March 1, 1961, in Quitman, GA, a son of Albert L. Sykes Jr. and Susan Brown, he graduated from Brooks County High School in Georgia.
Following high school, Al entered the US Army on Oct. 16, 1985. He served two tours in Korea, was stationed in Germany and Egypt, and was deployed to Haiti in 1994. Al was honorably discharged after 20 years, as a staff sergeant on October 31, 2005, from Fort Drum, NY.
During his years of service, Al was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, 3 Army Commendation Medals, Joint Service Achievement Medal, 7 Army Achievement Medals, 4 Army Good Conduct Medals, 2 National Defense Service Medals, Korea Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, 3 Overseas Service Ribbons, Multinational Force and Observers Medal, Air Assault Badge and Army Lapel Button.
Al married Diane Youngs, Black River, on Dec. 10, 1993, at Pine Plains Bowling Center on Fort Drum. The couple were avid bowlers and bowled all over New York state. Al belonged to the Watertown 700 Bowling Club; was an officer in the Watertown USBC; was a member of the “700 Club” Hall of Fame as well as the “Watertown Bowling Association” Hall of Fame.
The couple enjoyed golfing and were former members at Willowbrook Golf Club. They enjoyed spending time at their camp on the Chaumont River.
Al was an avid Denver Broncos and Auburn fan, and a member of the American Legion.
Following his military service Al worked various jobs in the local area. While working he earned an associate’s degree in applied science from Jefferson Community College in 2015.
He is survived by his beloved wife Diane M. “Lady Di” Sykes, Black River, his children, Michael and Marianne Youngs Jr., Germany, James Youngs and his companion Penny Chenoweth, Watertown, seven grandchildren, Mychelle (Nate) Eckstein, Lauren (Kyle) Parker, Michael Youngs III, Amanda Chenoweth, Shanon Youngs, Kendra Youngs and James Youngs Jr.; six great-grandchildren, Lyla, Athena, Emerson, Aleysia, Alice Rose and Hannah; his loving parents, Albert L. (Sue) Sykes Jr., GA, Susan (Billy) Donaldson, GA; two brothers and their wives, Bill (Vicky) Sykes, GA, Eric (Kelly) Donaldson, GA; his sisters and their husbands, Becky (Mike) Wallace, GA, and Angie (Charlie) Arnold, FL; and many nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 12, at the Bruce Funeral Home, 131 Maple St., Black River. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing.
The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, June 13, in Black River Cemetery.
Donations may be made to Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham St., Watertown, NY 13601 or the Watertown 700 Bowling Club Scholarship Fund, PO Box 132, Black River, NY 13612.
Online condolences may be made at BruceFH.com.