Posted 6/1/23

On May 19, 2023, Joan Sykes Bryson transitioned after a long battle with cancer.

Joan was born on July 14, 1949, in Staten Island, NY...

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On May 19, 2023, Joan Sykes Bryson transitioned after a long battle with cancer.
Joan was born on July 14, 1949, in Staten Island, NY to Joan V. (Kestler) and Edward C. Sykes. The family moved to Sullivan County while Joan was young; they ran an egg farm outside Narrowsburg before moving to Hankins, where the family ran the Hankins House. Joan graduated from Delaware Valley Central School in 1967.
Joan worked at several Catskill hotels, where she met her partner and love of her life Barry Bryson.
After becoming an OR Tech, Joan worked at Loomis Hospital in Liberty, NY. She went on to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing at William Paterson College. After employment at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Warwick, New York Hospital, and as Nursing Supervisor in Obstetrics at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, she went on to study midwifery and became director of the State University of NY Downstate Midwifery Service in Brooklyn. There she fought for her midwives and her patients’ right to respectful care. After leaving Downstate, she took this experience and achieved her lifelong dream. She opened Community Midwifery, her private home birth practice in Brooklyn in 1997. Joan served as the chapter chair of NYC Midwives and on the board of NYS Midwives, an affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
She was a pioneer in assisting and supporting thousands of women as they stood in their power and trusted their birthing bodies (more than 1,400 births in her career). This was her passion, and many midwives looked to her for guidance and support, which she always gave wholeheartedly. Even in retirement, she continued to advocate for women’s reproductive health.
Joan loved the beautiful Delaware River. When she wasn’t assisting births, she was there enjoying time with family and friends. Spending time on the river with family was her solace. She eventually moved back close to her hometown and retired. She and Barry created a wonderful home together, surrounded by the forest and her beautiful gardens. The love that she shared with her husband Barry was palpable, and the thing that made her most proud was her family, especially her daughter Gaby and grandson Jayden. She was a shining light for many who crossed her path and will be missed by all she touched.
Joan is survived by her husband Barry, daughter Gabrielle, grandson Jayden as well as four siblings, Edward (Joyce) Sykes, Maureen Whipple, Thomas Sykes, Kate (Dan) Sykes Bowers, and several nieces, nephews and grand-nieces and -nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents, Joan and Ed, brother-in-law Bob Whipple and nephew Brian Sykes.
A celebration of life will be private. Donations can be made in Joan’s name to the A.C.N.M. Foundation, Inc.
The family would like to thank Hospice of Sullivan and Orange for their support during Joan’s Illness.

obituaries, Joan, Bryson