It was a dreary winter day in the ICU of the Maryview hospital and Dru Ford had something she needed to say. It wasn’t a complaint, confession, or even a request. Despite her own tenuous condition, Dru wanted the staff member cleaning her room to know how beautiful she looked.
This was not an isolated incident and, while Dru would go on to fight her illness courageously for several more years; she always thought first of others. Dru wanted everyone around her to feel good about themselves and know that they were ‘beautiful on the inside and out’.
Hazel Dru Sykes was born on February 25, 1955 in the Leigh Memorial Hospital in Norfolk to Nathan “Spare” Sykes, Jr. and Janet Lenore Pugh Sykes. Dru spent her formative years in South Norfolk as an active member of her school community, most notably as a cheerleader and member of the Honor Court, prior to graduating from Indian River High School in 1973.
In her early thirties, Dru followed her passion by continuing her family’s tradition in education. She gave up the security of a civil service career to become a fifth grade teacher and found her home at Great Bridge Intermediate School. Ever the student herself, she went on to obtain her Master’s Degree from Old Dominion University. Dru loved her students and took great pride in their character development. One of her greatest accomplishments was being named the 1997-1998 Teacher of the Year.
Dru effortlessly balanced her kindness, generosity and unassuming nature with assertiveness and strength in her convictions. It wasn’t unheard of for her to stand up and cheer at the end of a teachers’ meeting (she wanted the presenter to know their efforts were appreciated) or jump into the swimming pool fully clothed at an end of year party. Dru lived her life on her own terms and, even in the most dire of situations, was ready with positivity and a clever quip. She loved working on her home, sunbathing, traveling, holidays, animals, plants, and life itself.
On March 23, 2018, Dru passed away peacefully in the company of niece, Kasey Logan Schmidt and longtime best friend, Sue Cole after goodbyes from cousins, David Pugh, Sr. and Charles L. Pugh, III and friend, John Cole. Dru is also survived by siblings, Ronald Wayne Sykes and Janet Denise Sykes Harris. She was predeceased by both parents as well as her beloved cat, Amy.
A visitation will be held on Monday April 2nd from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Altmeyer Funeral Home in Great Bridge followed by a graveside service on Tuesday April 3rd at noon at Riverside Memorial Park in South Norfolk.
Date: Monday, April 2, 2018
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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