A beloved local activist known for her drive and candor has passed away.
Bobbye Sikes Wicke died in her sleep Aug. 4 at her daughter’s home in Bendersville, Pa. She was 85.
“She had a good long life,” said Bettie Lehr, a longtime friend. “She held up like a trooper until the very end.”
Sikes Wicke, the oldest child of the late Congressman Bob Sikes, was born in Crestview. After moving around the country she returned to Okaloosa County in the mid-1990s. From the moment she arrived until her health declined, Sikes Wicke was involved in the community
Almost immediately she joined a number of local organizations, including the Okaloosa County Democrats and the Okaloosa Citizens Alliance.
“She was what you might call one of the kingpins, or in her case queenpins,” said Judy Byrne Riley, who got to know Sikes Wicke best while they worked together the year that the Florida Democratic Women’s Club held its convention in Okaloosa County
Anytime she tackled a task she’d see it through to the end, Byrne Riley said.
The proof of her determination can be found in the books she wrote, including her father’s biography, and newsletters she helped publish and distribute. It’s also evident to anyone who walks into the local Democratic headquarters.
No less than five photos on the wall show Sikes Wicke.
“She was available almost anytime,” Lehr said. “She did everything from parades to the fair.”
Although a positive person by nature, Sikes Wicke never shied from the truth or from expressing her view.
“Classic Bobbye would be speaking her mind and telling you, whether you wanted to hear it or not,” Lehr said with a laugh.
Politics wasn’t her only love. She raised five children while trying her hand at several careers, from starting a medical publishing business to running a horse farm in Pennsylvania to selling real estate.
She remained in Okaloosa County until last year when she decided to move to Pennsylvania so her daughter could help take care of her.
Rather than hold any sort of local ceremony, Sikes Wicke asked people to make a donation to the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in honor of her dog, Bella, whom she adopted there several years ago.
Lehr last talked to Sikes Wicke about two weeks ago. She said that while her friend was “ready to go,” her death will be felt keenly by many.
“We loved her dearly,” she said.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Katie Tammen at 850-315-4440 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @KatieTnwfdn.