Longtime Sykes Owner Passes Away at 93

By Beacon Staff

Douglas F. Wise, a local legend who owned Sykes’ Grocery and Market for more than 60 years, passed away Jan. 14 at the age of 93.

Wise was born in Kalispell to George and Mary Wise on Aug. 19, 1917. He attended Elrod Elementary and Central Junior High School before leaving school in eighth grade to go work to support his family.

As a teen, Wise worked for Cecil Sykes at a slaughterhouse and later at Sykes’ meat market. He learned from his father how to buy and sell cattle, an occupation that became a passion. Wise purchased Sykes’ meat market in 1945 and then the grocery business in 1947.

On Dec. 19, 1952, he married Julia “Judy” Mae Potts. Together, they added a restaurant to the market in 1975 and a pharmacy in 1981. The couple operated Sykes’ until last year, when Wise sold it to Ray Thompson, the founder of Semitool.

Thompson has overseen extensive renovations at the beloved market, which is located on Second Avenue West in Kalispell. Among the remodeling efforts is new tile on the floor, though one section of the original tile remains intact. It’s where Wise sat for many years and it’s worn by decades of his scooting chair.

Wise is survived by his wife, Julia “Judy” Mae Wise; son, David Wise and Doris of Vaughn; daughter, Diana Stoller and Walt of Somers; daughter, Cindy Dodson and Steve of Las Vegas; daughter, Mary Janice Inman and Mike of Spokane; son, Tim Wise and Dodie of Kalispell; son, Randy Wise and Debi of Kalispell; daughter, Hilda Wise; sisters, Lorraine Schultz and Gladys Kikendahl of Kalispell; 23 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews.

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