Lauderdale County pays its respects
SYKES EULOGIZED The Rev. Zacary Finley, pastor at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, talks to family and friends of Q.V. Sykes during his funeral Wednesday. More than 400 people attended the service for Sykes, who died Sunday. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
July 18, 2002
As the 23rd Psalm was recited over solemn music, Q.V. Sykes' family filed into New Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday for their last goodbye to the man many simply called "Coach."
Family members filled the church's first five pews, joining more than 400 other friends, colleagues and community leaders who paid tribute to the former county supervisor, educator and coach.
Sykes, 68, married and the father of three children, died Sunday at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center after a long bout with lung cancer.
Sykes had been the District 4 supervisor since 1996. He entered politics after a long career teaching and coaching at public schools, including his last stint at George Washington Carver Middle School.
He also served as a trustee and deacon at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.
Sykes' funeral attracted such a large crowd that some people sat on extra folding chairs that were brought in to the church. Many used hand-held fans to ease the stifling late-morning heat.
Funeral attracts many
Mourners came from all over the state, including Rankin County Supervisor Larry Swales who serves as president of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors.
Willola Brown drove all the way from the north Mississippi city of Duck Hill, Sykes' hometown. Brown had known Sykes for more than 40 years; she said her older brother was Sykes' best friend.
The Rev. John Jacobs, pastor of Grace Church in Collinsville, said he was aware of Sykes' reputation long before he met him. Jacobs visited Sykes while he was being treated in the hospital.
Sykes leaves legacy
The Rev. Gerald Hudson grew up with Sykes' son, Reggie. Hudson, pastor of Newell Chapel, said Sykes "was a man of few words, but you could see he had direction and he had focus."
Hudson said Sykes' children set the standard in the community because "everybody wanted to be around them and to emulate them."
Others at the funeral also praised Sykes for his dedication to children.
They pointed to his work on the ballpark at Lovers Lane in Meridian, which earlier this year was re-named in his honor. Even the Meridian City Council joined in, changing Lovers Lane to Q.V. Sykes Lane.
Finley, pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, echoed those comments in his message to the crowd.