THE NAMESAKE

THOMAS EDGAR SIKES, JR.

Described in many ways over the course of his lifetime, the essence of Dr. Thomas Edgar Sikes, Jr. is best captured by his introduction in a series of essays on the history of medicine in Greensboro published in 1991 where he is presented as "a man of vision, never satisfied with acceptance of status quo where he felt improvement could be made."

The son of the legendary Dr. Thomas Edgar Sikes, Sr. who was a pioneer in the field of dentistry becoming the first oral surgeon in the southeast, Edgar, Jr. would mirror his extraordinary father in many ways.  

"What made their opinion valuable," the collection of essays reveals, "was they they both would call a spade often more than a spade. Ed.Jr. is generally a very mild mannered gentleman who has a great fund of information, approachable and when necessary, very dogmatic. He has concerned himself with all phases of this community and all of us are better off for his commitment."

Sikes was born September 6, 1925 in Greensboro. He graduated from Greensboro Sr. High School (now Grimsley), attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and graduated from the University of Maryland Dental School. He completed his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD and practiced oral surgery for 40 years in Greensboro.

THE EARLY YEARS

SIKES HAY RACK PATENT.tiff

SOURCE:  Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, Volume 539

By United States. Patent Office

SOURCE:  US School Yearbooks 1900-1999, Ancestry.com

UNC-CH 1944

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Growing up in Greensboro, Ed Sikes developed into a young man in a family that valued education, community involvement, art and creativity.  In our research, our first find of Dr. Sikes is a legal patent he obtained for his unique design of a hay rack.  He was only 15.

His love for music is evident in his involvement while at North Carolina University, now known as UNC-Chapel Hill, in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, an honorary fraternity of the university's "most outstanding music students." He was secretary of that fraternity in 1944. 

 

His talent, respect and love for music would remain evident throughout his life with the addition of a music room to 117 Keeling W for his baby grand piano, and at West Market Street United Methodist Church where he was a soloist and choir member for 60 years.

In 1943, at the age of 18, he registered for the draft while a student at UNC-CH and upon completing his residency in Maryland, he served two years in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War as head of the Oral Surgery Department at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL.

It's his military registration card where we learn he was 5' 9" tall, 165 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.  His complexion is described as ruddy.

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FAMILY AND CAREER

Before serving two years in the Air Force, Dr. Sikes planted the seeds of his beautiful family when he married Betty Gale Edwards in 1950 bringing their first child Gale in the world.  Together they would add Thomas Edgar Sikes III (Tom) to the mix in 1953 and Nathan in 1957.  All are living and have truly been gracious in helping understand the story of growing up in 117 Keeling W.  Read Gale's memories here.

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Dr. Sikes, like his father, launched a career in oral surgery starting a practice that would last more than four decades, and see him serve the public through some very important and high-profile positions.

He joined the Moses Cone Hospital dental staff in 1953, becoming an associate dentist in 1955.  Over the next several decades, some of the posts Dr. Sikes would hold include:

  • Eight years on the Guilford County Board of Health, servings as chairman for two years.
     

  • Two 4-year terms as Chief of Dentistry at Moses Cone.
     

  • Greensboro Community Council Board of Directors, appointed by the mayor of Greensboro.
     

  • President of the Southeastern Society of Oral Surgeons.
     

  • Guilford County Dental Society (served in all offices).
     

  • President of the Third District Dental Society (served in all offices).
     

  • Vice President of the North Carolina Society of Oral Surgeons (after serving on Peer Review Council).
     

  • (There's much more.  These details will be added as this website grows.)

From 1966 to 1973, Dr. Sikes used his expertise to help groom and grow future dental workers as he taught Oral Pathology and Head and Neck Anatomy at the School of Oral Hygiene at Guilford Technical Institute.  He retired from dentistry in 1987.

COMMUNITY CHAMPION

A full plate of dental responsibilities would make most feel overwhelmed  and perhaps overcommitted.  But Dr. Sikes was so much more than Greensboro's most prominent oral surgeon.  A walk through historical records clearly show this man was equally dedicated to his community, giving back as often as he could.  

Socially, he and his wife Betty were voracious volunteers, working hard to help Greensboro and her residents (both young and old) be better.  Despite his overflowing professional resume, Dr. Sike's own obituary is filled more with lists and descriptions of all he (and his wife) have offered to the community, including:

  • Decades of volunteering with the Boy Scouts of American, honored with numerous prestigious awards including the Order of the Arrow, Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope award for the southeastern region.
     

  • Travel to places like Los Angeles and Norway to represent Greensboro's community efforts.
     

  • Volunteer in the Department of Archives at the Greensboro Historical Museum, a position he proudly held for 10 years, later becoming a member of the Board of Trustees and later serving as Vice President.
     

  • Being listed in the 15th edition of Who's Who in the U.S. Southeast.
     

  • Charter member of the Gate City Kiwanis Club, holding perfect attendance for more than 53 years.  He would later be it's president (1963) and third district Lt. Governor.  He was awarded the Hixson Fellowship Award for his service.
     

  • Past president of the Guilford Wildlife Club.
     

  • Former member of the Euterpe Club.
     

  • Former member of the Capital Investment Club.
     

  • Former member of the Greensboro Jaycees.
     

  • Member of bridge and duplicate bridge clubs
     

  • (but wait... there's even more to be added later.)

It does not take a great deal of time to recognize that Dr. Thomas Edgar Sikes, Jr. was a remarkable man who contributed so much to his family and his community. He acquired Parkinson's Disease in 2004 and died November 5, 2015. 

 

As more research is conducted, more information will appear on this site.  There is so much out there we've not been able to access with Covid. But with what we have been able to uncover, it is clear Dr. Sikes was a man who was remarkable in so many ways believing whole-heartedly that not only are we are best selves while being social, we also achieve greatness by caring for and giving back to our communities.

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QUICK FACTS

1925

  • Born Sept. 6th to Dr. Thomas Edgar Sikes, Sr. and wife Clio Ogburn Sikes

1941

  • Acquired legal patent for a hay rack design at age of 15.

1942-1944

  • Attended the University of North Carolina --
    at Chapel Hill

1944

  • Served in the United State Army

1947

  • Earned his Doctorate in Oral Surgery from the Baltimore School of Dental Surgery, University of Maryland

1947-1950

  • House officer and resident, Dental Surgery Service at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

1949

  • Married Betty Gale Edwards (1925-2018)

1950

  • Birth of his first child, Susan Gale Sikes

1950-1952

  • Served second tour in the military as Dental Officer-Captain in the U.S. Air Force.

1953

  • Joined dental staff at Moses Cone Hospital becoming Associate Dentist in 1955.

  • Birth of his second child, Thomas Edgar Sikes III.

1956-1964

  • Served two four-year appointments as dental member, and two one-year terms as chairman of the Guilford County Board of Health

1957

  • Commissioned Jarislav Jan Kabatnik and Eugene Gulledge to build the family a custom-designed work of modern art at 117 Keeling Rd. West.  The home was completed in 1958.

  • Birth of his third child, Robert Nathan Sikes.

1964

  • Appointed by Greensboro's Mayor to the Greensboro Community Council Board of Directors.

  • Began first of two four-year terms as Chief of Dentistry at Moses Cone Hospital.

1965

  • President of Third District Dental Society after serving in all offices following serving all offices of the Guilford County Dental Society.

1966

  • Through 1973, taught Oral Pathology and Head and Neck Anatomy at the School of Oral Hygiene, Guilford Technical Institute.

1968

  • Through 1987, served locally and nationally in practically in every major role within the General Greene Council, Boy Scouts of America winning virtually every award available for his very exceptional service.

1969

  • President of the Southeastern Society of Oral Surgeons

1974-1977

  • Served as a member of the Peer Review Committee and later Vice President of the North Carolina Society of Oral Surgeons

1975-1979

  • Served his second four-year term as Chief of Dental Services at Moses Cone Hospital, as well as secretary of the Moses Cone Medical and Dental Board.

1987

  • Retired from dentistry

2015

  • Died November 5th.  His obituary can be read here.

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