Bessie Lee Forrest

Sunrise: December 28, 1924

Sunset: January 12, 2024

Bessie Lee Forrest, a native of Norfolk, Virginia passed into eternal life peacefully on Friday, January 12, 2024. “Miss Bessie Lee;” as she was affectionately known by the peers of her children in the Berkley neighborhood of Norfolk, Virginia, was a product of the Norfolk Public Schools system. In 1966, after completing Norfolk City Schools and Norfolk General Hospital’s School of Practical Nursing, Ms. Forrest enjoyed a career as a Licensed Practical Nurse, retiring years later from Lake Taylor City Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. She was the daughter and last surviving child of the late Bessie Newsome Hendricks and the late James Hendricks. In union with first husband Walter Sykes, Jr. Ms. Forrest was the mother of the late Walter Sykes, III and her surviving son Carlton L. Sykes. She is also survived by a step son, Ambro E. Forrest, who joined the family with her second marriage to the late Robert Milton Forrest. By all accounts, she was a devoted mother who provided exceptionally for her children while maintaining a loving, vibrant home environment. Ms. Forrest was an avid reader who imparted a love of language, literature and precise enunciation and definition skills to her children, grandchildren, and all who came in contact with her. She will long be remembered for her swift, “frank speaking” retorts and the easy ability to laugh. She also valued and expected absolute honesty from the people in her life. As a life-long member of the New Hope congregation, she served in various capacities; including the Usher and Trustee Boards. Her great love for teaching was evident in her years of service as Sunday school teacher. She not only contributed to the spiritual growth of class members, but also encouraged them to appreciate the pronunciation and definitions of words. In addition to her beloved son, Carlton, she leaves to cherish her memory: bestfriend, Ms. Mary Hamilton; sister-in-law, Barbara Hendricks of McDonough, Georgia; a devoted nephew, Charles Alston, Jr.; a devoted niece, Marsha G. Hill; adopted daughters, Isalene Anderson and Vyone Key; grandchildren, Michael A. Sykes (Sharon) of Chesapeake; Zackeya R. Sykes (Kenay) of South Carolina; Keith L. Sykes of Atlanta, Georgia; Shay L. Sykes of Tennessee; Michelle Ballard of Hampton; and Malcon Sykes of Maryland; and a host of great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. “Ma Bessie” as she came to be known in her later years gave her life to Christ many years ago. She lived an exemplary life of service to God and man. While her absence in the flesh may be profoundly disruptive to us, we believe that she is now at home, at rest with loved ones and in the care of our loving God. To God be the glory! A special thanks to the care team of Vyone Key, Ruth Cheek, Calvetta Sumner, and Agape Love Home Health Care.

Viewing Friday, January 19, 2024 2:00pm - 6:00pm Metropolitan Funeral Service 120 W. Berkley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23523 Service Saturday, January 20, 2024 1:00pm New Hope CCC 145 E Liberty Street Norfolk, VA 23523 Interment Roosevelt Memorial Park 1101 Campostella Road Chesapeake, VA 23320

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  1. reply
    Vicki Powers says

    Carlton, my sincere condolences to you and the family. You took very good care of your mother, that I can personally attest to. ….. Love you both

  2. reply
    Emily M. cross says

    Carlton, your Mother was an inspiration to be around. The last time that I saw her, she still maintained that serene dignity she possessed. I used to laugh and tell her how my sister, Carolyn always remembered her coming to Gates, NC with her two boys and husband Walter Sykes during the early years. Carolyn would say how Mrs. Bessie Lee could wear those heels, even back then. Your Mother will be missed; but, she will always remain close to you in your heart. May God Bless and be with you during these
    sad days.

  3. reply
    Lucinda Barnes says

    Aunt Bessie lee was apart of this our family before I was borrn. She was dear to my mother, Gertrude Bullock and her sisters , Ruby and Mary. She will be missed. My prayers are with Carlton. Love you, Lucinda

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