Marzy Sykes

Obituary of Marzy Sykes

Mary Ferguson Sykes, 77, known as Marzy to her family and friends, passed away on April 24th at The Hill at Whitemarsh. Marzy was born in Philadelphia and was the child of Isobel and William Ferguson of Gladwyne, PA and the sister of Katherine Rogers. She received her early education at the Agnes Irwin School, and subsequently received her BA at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Masters in Education at Temple University and her Ph.D in Developmental Psychology at Bryn Mawr College.


Marzy spent most of her career working with children, first at The Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, then at The Child Institute at Bryn Mawr College, and finally as Director of Research & Child Development at the Please Touch Museum.


Marzy was also an active volunteer, again focused on helping children, first at the Philadelphia Zoo and then at the Safe Harbor Program with Abington-Jefferson Health. Throughout her career and life Marzy found time to advise numerous museums and educational institutions on the suitability of their exhibits for children including: Franklin Institute, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Mercer Museum, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and the Hudson Valley Children’s Museum.


Marzy published numerous papers and presentations on child development including serving as a contributing editor to a number of children’s books. Later in Marzy’s life she studied and practiced art, specializing in drawings and watercolors of still life plants and animals that she often decorated on cards sent to her grandchildren.


Marzy was preceded in death by her ex-husband and father of her children David Terrence Sykes, former Vice Chairman of Duane, Morris & Hecksher.


A loving mother and grandmother, Marzy is survived by her two sons, David Sykes of Sewickley, PA and Matthew Sykes of Summit, NJ and her 5 grandchildren Isabelle, Thomas, Susanna, Kendall and Juliet. Marzy found much joy in engaging in arts & crafts activities with her adoring grandchildren.


A remembrance event will take place later in the summer, details will be provided at a later date.


In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to NTMir, an organization dedicated to the advancement of research, education and care of those with Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (


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