Nancy Powell Sykes

Nancy Powell Sykes, 82, a lifelong resident of Newport News, died peacefully at her home on Monday, January 2, 2023.

Nancy was born in North Carolina and grew up in the Wythe area of Hampton.  She graduated Valedictorian of her Hampton High School Class of 1958.  Nancy received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Mary Washington College in 1962 and worked at NASA until 1969 as a computer analyst for the space program where she met her husband, George F. Sykes, Jr.  They were married in 1964.  She managed Seven Enterprises, Ltd., a local automotive parts business, with her husband for 15 years and was a real estate professional for 20 years.  

Nancy’s life took her to many different places with some unexpected twists, from NASA scientist working on the first lunar lander to a small business owner to racing rally cars with the Peninsula Sports Car Club.  She served as President of the University of Mary Washington Alumni Association, writer and interviewer for the Oyster Pointer magazine, event planner, and organizer for the legions of groups she was part of, including maintaining strong ties to Hampton High School’s legendary class of 1958!  She also joined and supported whatever her daughters were a part of (Girl Scout leader, school yearbook editor, chauffeur to Star Trek conventions…).  She was a world traveler, a lifelong learner, and a consummate food enthusiast. No matter the activity, they all had something in common – they allowed her to interact with a diverse variety of people from all over the world with different interests and personalities. Connecting with others was what most enriched her life and gave it purpose and meaning.  

Nancy’s faith was a constant foundation in her life.  From her beginnings with Aldersgate United Methodist Church to her most recent connection to Deer Park Fellowship, she was always engaged with her church community and never failed to share her unflagging faith in Jesus Christ through acts of love and kindness.

She will be remembered fondly by her many friends for her optimism, generosity, and kind spirit.

Nancy was predeceased by her husband, George F. Sykes, Jr., and her sister, Jo Anne Powell. She is survived by her daughters, Valerie S. Sykes of Lewistown, Pa. and Phelan F. Sykes of Oceanside, Ca., and by her cousins, Kaye C. Ward of Newport News, and Ken W. Crews and his wife Gail, of Spring, Tx.  

A visitation will be held at Peninsula Funeral Home on Monday, January 9, 2023, from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. Funeral Services will be held on Tuesday, January 10 at 10:00 a.m. at Peninsula Funeral Home, followed by interment in Peninsula Memorial Park.  Funeral services can also be viewed online at

In lieu of flowers, one may make a donation to any charity of choice, donate blood to the American Red Cross, or contribute to the Mary Washington University Class of 1962 Scholarship Fund.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 236021.


  1. Joyce D'Bene

    Nancy and I grew up at Aldersgate Methodist church for many years and she lived directly behind my grandmother in the Wythe area. Her and Joann and my cousins Jackie and Penny were all very good friends. Before Aldersgate closed she would still come to all of our social events. Nancy you will be missed very much. May God bless you. Love always, Joyce Good D’Bene

  2. Craig Moock

    Nancy Participated in a Bible Study on the Book of Hebrews that I led last Spring through Zoom. My church is Rural Chapel UMC in Galena, OH and Nancy came to our study because of her friendship with MaryRob Clodfelter (they went to school together). I celebrate how hard of a worker, how teachable, and how devoted to Jesus she was. In the Book of Hebrews, we learned about the magnitude of who Jesus is. Today she gets to experience that first hand!! She will be missed!! Blessings, Pastor Craig

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