William Robert Sykes, age 66, of Richland, MI died September 5, 2016, of injuries suffered in a bicycle accident. Those who knew him will miss his sense of humor and his love of his family and life. He died as he lived, doing something he loved. Born on November 9, 1949, Sykes was a lifelong Kalamazoo resident. He attended Alma College and Western Michigan University before earning his Juris Doctor degree from McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, Ca. He was a respected member of the Kalamazoo legal community and worked in both the Kalamazoo Prosecuting Attorney's Office and in private practice and Juvenile Court. Sykes was an avid kayaker and crafted his own kayaks in his garage workshop. He was proud of his accomplishment of kayaking at least once a month in Michigan for the last 20 years. Quite a feat during Michigan's cold and snowy winters. When his niece swam around Mackinac Island, Sykes kayaked beside her. And when she swam across the Grand Traverse Bay he followed her through rough waters -- never leaving her side. Perhaps one of Sykes' most notable gigs was his role as Kayak Santa. Every Christmas he paddled his kayak around Gull Lake dressed in his Santa suit to the delight of young and old alike. He also loved to ride his bicycle and motorcycle and sail his sailboat whenever he could find time and wind. He is survived by his wife Fran Sykes, children Jared (Bonnye) and Scott Sykes and Sheila Ash; grandchildren Micah and Elinor Sykes and Karah Ash; his mother Elinor (William) Sykes and his sisters Terry (William) Bradshaw and Kathleen (Steven) Shimp; many nieces and nephews and grand nieces; and stepson, Michael Ash. He will also be missed sorely by his canine companion, Cletus. He was preceded in death by his father William E. Sykes. Family and friends will miss his quick wit, his love of the outdoors and his huge love for his family. Our world is a sadder place without him. We miss you, Bill. We always will. A special thank you to the caring and compassionate staff of the Borgess Hospital Neuro Intensive Care Unit. A memorial reception will be held on Saturday, September 17, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Richland Community Center, 9400 East CD Avenue, Richland, MI 49083. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Jane Mansanger Memorial Fund. Checks can be made in honor of William R. Sykes and made payable to the Kalamazoo Community Foundation MEMO: Mansanger Memorial Fund and mailed to 402 East Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.