Colonel Cecil R. Sykes


Cecil Ray Sykes, Colonel, US Army, retired was born 1/1/1930 in Clinchco, Virginia. He died in his beloved Pamlico County, with family members by his side, 6/13/2019.

The third child of Leonard and Elizabeth, Cecil was one of 3 brothers and 2 sisters who grew up in a coal mining community where they learned farming as well as respect and love of family. Inspired to serve his country after one year at Purdue University, Cecil was accepted to West Point, NY and joined the US Army.

Educated at US Military Academy West Point, class of 1952, he met Marlene Schmidt soon after graduating. Married within the year, they shared 67 years together, raising 3 children.

Col. Sykes’ memorable military career included serving as Battalion Commander of Artillery in Viet Nam as well as multiple assignments across the US and overseas. Trained in the new discipline of Nuclear Physics at University of Virginia in the 1960s, he was integral to early experimentation at Sandia Base, New Mexico. One of his favorite deployments was to Bangkok, Thailand. Cecil learned to love the Thai language, culture, people, foods and opportunities Thailand gave his family and him.

Alexandria, VA was home for many years, during his years at the Pentagon and after retirement. Drawn to Oriental, NC, Cecil began Sykes Builders in 1983, constructing custom, high quality homes and buildings.

Cecil and Marlene lived a bucolic life on the water where they enjoyed sailing and being involved with several facets of the community. Cecil Sykes was instrumental in establishing and building St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Oriental, NC.

Cecil Sykes loved his God, country and family. Too, he was an incredibly talented Master Gardener, accomplished cook, an avid reader, thinker, conversationalist and friend to many from throughout his life. He enjoyed learning about and creating clocks. Cecil made certain all his children have a handcrafted clock to mark their time.

He was proficient in three languages: English, Thai and French.

Cecil was predeceased by sisters, Thelma and Alice; and brother, Robert. His brother, James (Brenda) live in Big Stone Gap, VA near the original family homestead.

He is survived by his sons, Paul (Tina), Robert (Terry), daughter, Joyce and claimed Charlene Morris as his own child.

Cecil has several grandchildren and great grandchildren, all of whom he loved and cherished. Grandchildren include: Danielle, Wesley and Shelby Rae, Sarah and Jessica (Jason), Brian (Abby) and Timothy.

Great grandchildren include Garrett, who serves in the US Army. Jennifer, Clark and Luke are among several other great-grandchildren whom Cecil often enjoyed in his life. Cecil’s newest great granddaughter, Edith Rae Karam, arrived 6/14/19 and will learn of Cecil from family members and the extensive archives he left for all to explore.

Celebrate Cecil’s life at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church on June 27th at 11 a.m.

Memorial may be given to St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, PO Box 461, Oriental, NC 28571 or Hospice of Pamlico, PO Box 6, Bayboro, NC 28515.

Odd Facts About Money

The United States Military Academy at West Point  mints the one ounce gold American Eagle.
If you toss a penny 10,000 times, it will not be heads 5,000 times, but more like 4,950. The heads picture weighs more, so it ends up on the bottom.

The paper used in making U.S. currency is made (70%) from blue jean pants remnants.

Cattle are probably the oldest of all forms of money. Cattle as money dates back to 9000 B.C. Some cattle were still used as money in parts of Africa in the middle of the 20th century.

Before the days of paper money, Americans traded animal skins, including deer and elk bucks, for goods and services. Hence the word “buck” to describe money.

American Indians used to carry around strings of clam shells to use as money, which they called wampum. Wampum was the most common form of money in North America. By 1637, the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared wampum legal tender, which meant it could be used as money.

What happens if your money gets trashed? The Office of Currency Standards will replace it if you can present to officials 51 percent of the note. If your cash has been burned, torn or otherwise destroyed, they will help you verify and replace that money. The office once received a shotgun in which a man had hidden some money, but forgot and fired the gun. In another case, a farmer sent his cow’s stomach stuffed with money.

The car on the back of a ten dollar bill is NOT a Model T Ford.

The clock on the back of a hundred dollar bill is set to 4:10 and no one knows why.

It costs 6.7 cents to make a dollar bill. Come to think about it. It costs 6.7 cents to make any bill.

There are 490 notes in a pound, if you used $1 bills, a million dollars would weigh 2,040.8 pounds, but if you used $100 bills it would weigh only 20.4 pounds and fit nicely in a brief case.

The first paper notes were printed in the United States were in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents. The government was forced to issue these bills because of the hording taking place during the Civil War. Other denominations followed and were called Greenbacks”. Prior to this, the States and even local banks issued their own currency.

Yeah, that’s Lincoln on his own money.

The ten dollar bill is called a “Dixie” or a “Sawbuck” because of this bill. The large Roman numeral X reminded people of the x in Dixie. It started in the South as an insult to the Union. People also thought the X looked like a saw horse. Slang for a sawhorse was “Sawbuck”.


American currency is not only worthless but unconstitutional as well. See the Proof.

The Constitution grants Congress the power:

“To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coins, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measurements””

Anyone see anything about printing money? Didn’t think so. Until 1861, States and banks printed “Bank Notes” promising to redeem the bearer an equal amount of gold or silver COINS. On February 25, 1862, the Legal Tender Act empowered the Secretary of the Treasury to issue paper money (“greenbacks”) that were not immediately redeemable in gold or silver. The National Currency Acts of 1863 and 1864 created a system of nationally chartered banks that could issue bank notes supplied to them by the new Comptroller of the Currency, and a 10 percent tax was placed on state bank notes to drive them out of business and establish a federal monetary monopoly.

The Gold Standard Act of the United States was signed by President William McKinley on March 14, 1900. It established gold as the only standard for redeeming paper money, stopping bimetallism (which had allowed silver in exchange for gold). On April 25, 1933 the United States and Canada dropped the gold standard. In 1965, silver was removed from U.S. coinage. They are now made of zinc and copper.

Dollars to nickles have a copper core and a zinc coating. The penny has a zinc core and a copper coating. Weird huh? Take a slice off the edge of a penny and see what you find.

When at the checkout, I usually whip out a bill and say “Will you accept this instead of cash?”

I almost always get a blank stare.