Sydney Michael Wire, Major, ret, USMC 77 years old, a resident of Anacortes, Washington died on March 25, 2012 peacefully at home of natural causes following complications of a heart attack, and after a long illness.
Syd was the first generation of his family to be born in the United States. He was born in Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of an Irish sea captain, and, true to form, the sea was calling to him from a young age. He has the distinction of being one of the youngest men ever to join the Merchant Marines, shipping off on the Laura Keene in 1952 at the age of 16.
He continued with service to his country by enlisting with the United States Marine Corps, to which he gave 22 years, serving as a communications officer during the Viet Nam War, in Okinawa, and at many stateside assignments. Of note, during his service in the marine corps, Syd authored the first computer program-based celestial navigation program for the Navy, for which he received an award. He remained active in the Marine Air Traffic Control Association (MATCA) until his death, maintaining two columns (Couth Cookin’ and Coutho’s Corner) in the MATCA newsletter. Additionally, he co-authored two MATCA cookbooks, true labors of love, with Carole McIntosh. The last was published just before he died.
In 1980, Syd received a Bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University in Management, though he was not one to brag about it. After his retirement, he worked for Litton Industries in their microwave technology division for many years. But the sea continued to call ...
In 1986 Syd purchased a much longed for sailing vessel: a Westsail 32, Fresh Breeze. After outfitting her, and training his then finance Cathi as first mate, they set sail from Ventura California, destination Hilo Bay, Hawaii. During this voyage he sought to put to proof his celestial navigation skills and used no GPS positioning devices. He used the stars, and an antique sextant he had purchased for the job. This sextant now resides with Stephan Schutt at his 8th street law office in Anacortes. When Syd saw the lights of Hilo Bay before him, straight on, he danced a jig on deck, as any good Irishman might. When Cathi asked him why he was making such a fuss, he answered, “I wasn’t sure I could do it!”
He married Cathi (or perhaps, she still married him) on 6/7/89 at 10:11 in Causland Park in Anacortes, where they settled after their return to shore in 1987.
Syd was a resident of Anacortes for 25 years. In his many years as a resident, he worked as an independent businessman; spent some time working at the local cannery prior to its close; and as a bartender. He was active in both the local Elks and Eagles organizations, and participated in charitable fundraising for Seattle Children’s hospital on many occasions. Those about town may remember him, and the stories and jokes he was so good at telling.
Syd is survived by his children: Michael Wire of Brooklyn, NY; Elizabeth D’Arrigo of Little Falls, New York; and Allison Nisbet of Springfield, Virginia. He is survived by his five grandchildren: Veronica and Natalia Neito-Wire; Sal D’Arrigo; and Sean and Brendan Nisbet. In addition, his family in Texas and New Mexico, which include his dear brother-in-law, “Bubba” Jeff Powers; his niece Teresa Hall; and nephews, Michael Short, Ray Short, Christopher Short, and Timothy Powers.
He was preceded in death by his wife Catherine Ann (1999), his mother Kathleen Johnston Wire (1943), his father “Big” Syd, Captain Sydney M. Wire, Jr. (1990), and his sister Kathleen Powers (2004). We his family, and his many friends locally and across the country will miss his salt and wit. We remember him: first an Irishman and a marine, then a sailor, and finally free.
The family wishes to thank: Les Conway, MD and Mike Sibel, MD; Syd’s physicians; the Hospice of the Northwest, for their excellent care of Syd at home in his final days; Syd’s friends and family, who were a great support to him during his illness, and the source of his good cheer; and finally, Harbormaster Dale and Dallas & Christie, who helped ensure that Syd’s boat Cool Change will have a second chance at life.
A Memorial service will be held with honors at Tahoma National Cemetery later this summer, where Syd will be interred alongside his beloved Cathi.
Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, WA. To share memories of Syd, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com or visit Syd’s Facebook page.
The family requests that Memorial offerings be directed to the National Military Families Association at www.nmfa.org.
Here follows Mikeen’s favorite poem “Sea Fever” by John Mansfield.
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind's song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Sleep sweet, Mikeen.
No comments found.