Vale, Brother Coman Sykes
Vale, Brother Coman Sykes -

Brother Coman Sykes, ‘Coey’ to many, passed away peacefully in his sleep in the evening of 19th September. We have lost a terrific, industrious, honest and caring man in Coey. Rest in Peace Brother.

In May 2013  “Coey”, was admitted to Campbelltown Hospital with some serious health complications. His heart and lungs were not functioning correctly and other bodily systems seem to be failing. The Lord had some more for Brother Coman to do because Coey was able to return to St Gregory’s College Campbelltown, where he had been spending his retirement.

You may recall the scholarships funded by the Old Boys Union are named in honour of Brother Coman.

Brother Coman worked at Westmead for 20 years of his Marist life, St Vincent’s Westmead Boys Home (1949-1956), Community Superior (1973) and the secondary school (1984-1995).

Geoffrey Sykes attended St Gregory’s College Campbelltown having gone to that school in 1943 (Year 9) from Yass (Currawang - Spring Valley where his family had lived and worked since 1827).  The Marist Brothers made a lasting impression on Geoffrey and he left St Gregory’s in 1944 to commence training as a Marist Brother.  He was professed as Brother Coman in 1948 and after 12 months scholasticate began his apostolic work at St Vincents. He was the principal at St Gregory’s (1957 - 1962) and Marist North Shore before moving into formation. Forever a humble man he had a lasting impact on many lives as evidenced by the recognition he received in having a wing of Marist College North Shore named after him.

During his years at Parramatta Marist High he was the Year 11 co-ordinator and sports coach. His work in maintaining the school bus fleet, the fields and school buildings are legendary. Brother Coman retired to Mittagong in 1995 and later moved to St Gregory’s. (Source: McDonald I, A School of Their Own – The Story of Parramatta Marist 1820-2000; 2000; p.353).

Coey was also a keen genealogist having authored 'The History of the Sykes Family in Australia' originally produced for the Spring Valley Reunion of 1971 and maintained a website by the same name  .

Br Coman was most committed to living out the ideals and the vision of Marcellin Champagnat. He was a generous man, with a ready smile and a warm hello for everyone. For he lived out the Marist virtues of humility, simplicity and virtue and his example will be sadly missed in this world.  (Other Sources: St Gregs website )