Mary Margaret (Murray) Sykes

April 27, 1937-Oct. 15, 2013

by: SUBMITTED - SykesMary Margaret Murray was born on April 27, 1937, to William Braly Murray and Edna Louise (Egger) Murray in Portland, Oregon. She had two brothers, Robert Murray and Barry Murray, and three half-siblings, William, Katherine, and Donald Murray.

Mary’s family lived in Eastmoreland for part of her early childhood and then moved to Cactus Drive in Southwest Portland.

Mary attended Ainsworth Elementary and St. Helens Hall in Portland, and Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii.

While in Hawaii, she met a U.S. Navy sailor from North Carolina named Randolph Sykes, fell in love, married, and started a family.

While Randy was in the Navy, the family was stationed in Hawaii, Guam, and Bremerton, Washington. Mary and Randy had seven children including Randolph, Norman, Michael, Gerald, Deborah, Darryl, and Duane.

They settled in the rural Chapman area of Scappoose and Mary resided there until Randy’s death in 1989, when she relocated to downtown Portland. She loved living in the city, with its many opportunities for entertainment and shopping within easy walking distance and her favorite place, the Multnomah County Library.

Her career began as clerical support for her mother’s staffing agency, Staff Employment. She also worked for the City of Portland as staff to Commissioners Mike Lindburgh and Margaret Strachan.

After retiring from over 20 years of public service at the City of Portland, Mary shared time between her retreat in Vernonia and her downtown apartment, eventually settling full-time in Vernonia.

She enjoyed living in downtown Vernonia, where she could easily walk to shopping, restaurants, the parks, and the library and hosted large gatherings of friends and family during the Vernonia Jamboree.

After the 2007 Vernonia flood devastated her home, she returned to the Scappoose area to be closer to family.

Mary loved to read books and sew, was a fabulous cook, loved to travel to the Oregon Coast, and spend time with her family.

Mary vacationed many times in Melaque, Mexico, and enjoyed genealogical research trips to Tennessee and North Carolina with her niece, Bernadette and other family.

Mary Margaret passed away surrounded by her family on Tuesday, October 15, 2013, due to complications related to lung cancer.

Mary is survived by her brothers, Bob and Barry Murray; half-brothers, Bill and Donald Murray; her children, Randy (Lorene), Norman, Michael (Gail), Jerry (Lynn), Debbie, Darryl (Shawna), and Duane (Tammy); 13 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Edna and William Murray; husband, Randy Sykes; and half-sister, Kathy Murray. You can share stories about Mary or comments with the family on the Columbia Funeral Home’s website at

A memorial service and celebration of life with friends and family will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2013, at 12:30 p.m. at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church at 51555 SW Old Portland Road, Scappoose.