Waverly “Buck” Sykes

December 11, 1938 - March 18, 2022

12/11/1938 - 03/18/2022

Past Services

Monday September 19, 2022
1:00 pm

Additional Information:

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington, Virginia 22211


Waverly (Buck) Sykes, passed away peacefully at the age of 83, in Hendersonville, North Carolina on Friday, March 18, 2022. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia on December 11, 1938.


As the son of the Naval Shipyard Fire Chief in Portsmouth, Virginia, he grew up in the shipyard and was frequently seen by many shipyard employees during the WWll era decked out in his GI apparel. Buck was a graduate of Wilson High School. He earned a BS degree in Civil Engineering from Duke University where he served as the Regimental Commander of the NROTC program. Upon graduation he accepted regular commission into the United States Marine Corps and obtained the rank of Major. During his commission he was an instructor at the Landing Force Training Unit, Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, California and graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California with a MS degree in Operation Research.


As a Marine Force Recon Officer, he swam from submarines, jumped from airplanes, fought in combat, and was an exchange officer who served with the UK Royal Marines. Buck was a proud Vietnam Veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with the Combat V, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Stars, the Meritorious Unit Citation of the Gallantry Cross with palm and frame to name a few of his many awards. In later years he worked for the United States Government General Accounting Office until he retired as a director.


In his retirement, he and his wife spent time traveling in Switzerland and fell in love with the Bernese Mountain Dog, since that time they have raised the dogs and became very active in the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America. Their dogs have won numerous advanced titles in obedience and working dog events.


Buck is predeceased by his parents, Waverly Sykes, Fire Chief NNSY and Elizabeth M. Sykes.


He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Priscilla; and three children, Phyllis Mesec (Chip), Mary Hawkins (Adam), and Michael Sykes (Karen); and his five grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters, Pat Sykes, and Brenda Riley (Mike); and a brother Bill (Marty) Sykes; and numerous nieces and nephews as well as his faithful and mischievous Berner, Benjamin.


A chapel service will be held with a full military escort and the inurnment will  follow on Monday, September 19, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia with military honors.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Berner-Garde Foundation, the Wounded Warrior Program, or to your favorite charity.



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Hugh Porter
11 months ago

“Buck” was a fraternity brother, and, most importantly, a good friend.  I miss him.  He was the quarterback on our intermural football team and had an arm that rivaled Sonny Jurgensen. A fifty-yard touchdown pass to Duane Dillie was not unusual.  Buck declined a football scholarship to focus on his studies.  The Duke NROTC program, which he led, was top notch and one of the few in the nation that the midshipmen at Annapolis respected.  I was delighted when Buck and Priscilla settled up the road only a half hour away.  Sadly we did see enough of one another.

Pricilla, may you enjoy the far west.  

Robin Korotki
1 year ago

Buck was the best “team mate” ever and truly knew how to make his dogs shine and have fun!

Sara and Ronald Steele
1 year ago

My husband, Ron, and I knew Buck from the dog world, the world of Bernese Mountain Dogs. Buck was a very brave man during his military career and thereafter. Once, when we were all down in Atlanta for a dog show, Buck did a very brave thing. Atlanta is known for difficult, dangerous traffic on multilane roads. On this particular day we witnessed no less than 6 traffic accidents. We were convoying with Buck when we all witnessed a terrible accident where a car went way off the road and burst into flames. Buck immediately stopped his car and ran down to the endangered vehicle to help save the driver. This act exemplifies Buck. During his military career, he was always looking out for the other guy—looking for a way “to bring the guys home.” Buck was also famous for his ability to get his Bernese Mountain Dogs to do performance skills that no one else’s dogs could do. Buck was very popular in our world of Bernese Mountain Dogs and will be missed by many people.

Michael Dziokonski
1 year ago

We trusted him. Michael (Doc Ski), Dziokonski HM4, USN. Hotel 2/26 66-67 Viet Nam

James Baldwin
1 year ago

My wife, Tina and I moved to Tranquility Place a couple of doors down from Buck in 2019. He was one of the first neighbors we met. One of my areas of interest is local and military history, Buck proved to be a wealth of knowledge on the Korea and Vietnam eras. The knowledge he had was not the kind you get from history books but that of someone who lived it. I will be eternally grateful for his willingness to share his experiences and knowledge. He was a good man who loved his country and his neighbors. When all is said and done those are the things that count. He will be missed.

LeRoy Goldman and Judy Goldman
1 year ago

Judy and I moved to Tranquility Place here in Flat Rock 18 years ago, and by coincidence so did Buck and Pris Sykes. Over the years we became good friends with shared interests in our mutual love of dogs, dog training, and in our efforts to make Tranquility a community that fully deserved its name.

All four of us served at different times and in different ways on the Tranquility Board of Directors. Buck was instrumental in helping me as Board President in 2009 in making major changes to the Tranquility governing charter, the Covenants. That effort was both complex and controversial, and Buck put us on a glidepath to success by taking the time to go and personally meet with every willing homeowner in Tranquility to solicit their views on what changes were required and how to manage them going forward. His effort was painstaking, detailed, and it paid rich dividends for all of Tranquility.

Buck was soft spoken, yet fierce. Buck would extend a helping hand to anyone in need, but had no patience for those of mean spirit.

Judy and I will miss him terribly, but we are uplifted by the knowledge that he is now with the God he loved, and much more importantly the God who loved him first.

Michael O'Hara
1 year ago

Nearly 40 years of Bernese Mtn Dog Memories with Buck will live forever in my heart.

Bill Hancock
1 year ago

Great man!! We of Hotel Company,2nd Battalion,26th Marine Regiment loved him dearly. He will always live on in our hearts. We never forget!!!!! We will miss his talks that he always gave at our reunions. He always did his best to explain to us what really happened during our time serving together. We in the lower ranks never were given the whole story!!

Carol & Ken Lingley
1 year ago

We had the privilege of meeting Buck and Priscilla at the beginning of their life with Bernese Mountain Dogs. It wasn’t difficult to see Buck’s military experience transfer to the four-legged troops, not only in his training discipline but in the way he honored his dogs and the genuine joy and enthusiasm he felt in their accomplishments. We are sad we didn’t have that last phone call or visit ringside but will always treasure our wealth of memories. Exercise finished, Buck. Rest easy.
Priscilla you have our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy.

Peter M Mohan
1 year ago

Captain Sykes was the Commanding Officer of Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines. I joined Hotel as a PFC, fresh out of PI and ITR, in May of 1966 at Camp Pendleton.
‘Shipped to RVN on the Bexar APA 237, arrived by landing craft on a beach near DaNang. We all knew we had a great “Skipper”, tough, fair, brave and dedicated to Us, his men,, the Corps, Duty and Honor.
I personally have held him in the highest regard every day I was privileged to serve under his command, and, every day since.
He will be remembered and missed.
May the Creator of Heaven and Earth welcome him home and Bless his Family, forever.