Lifelong friend of the Syreks shares fondest memories

Posted at 9:17 PM, Sep 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-07 22:24:56-04

BALDWIN, Mich.-- A lifelong friend of Patty and Ted Syrek spoke with FOX 17 on Friday.

The couple was found dead inside their home in Bowne Township on Tuesday.  Their son-in-law has been charged in their murder.

Martha Riggs has known Patty Syrek since they were 19 years old. They were Maid of Honor in each other’s weddings and no matter where life took them, they always made time for one another. Martha says Patty was one in a million and her life will never be the same.

Martha Rigg’s backyard in Lake County has become a space for peace and reflection; a place where she can look back on her fondest memories of her lifelong friend, Patty Syrek. The two met working for General Motors in Grand Rapids in the 1970s.

"She and I were both hired in the same day as 19-year old’s," said Riggs. "We were fresh-faced and young gals and happy to be having a job like that.”

The pair immediately became best friends. Martha says GM was also where Patty met her husband, Ted.

"She was always there and Ted, they were both always there," said Riggs. "They were just good, solid friends and people that you could truly count on.”

They each stood by each other’s sides at their weddings and remained closed friends for more than 40 years.

"She was my person and she was my closest confidante and friend," said Riggs. "She was the one I’d call, and I did.”

Martha describes Patty as incredibly loyal and someone who was always there when she needed her.

"She was just one of the most incredible people that have been in my life and it’s just, this whole thing is just surreal," said Riggs. "I can’t believe that she’s no longer here.”

Many of Martha’s things are still in boxes from a recent move, but she found a few items from Patty over the years, including a recent birthday card. Patty would always remember to send one every year.

"It says, 'On your birthday, I’d like to say thanks for being that kind of friend, a true friend. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I hope you have a wonderful birthday. I hope to see you soon, next summer for sure, unless you come to Arizona first. Love you, Patty.' That was her," said Riggs.

Martha and Patty last spoke just a few weeks ago about meeting to catch up: something they never got to do.

"She said, 'Let’s get together next week. We’ll get together for lunch and I said, 'Yup Patty, we sure will'," said Riggs. "That would’ve been this week.”

Patty loved to garden. Between their home in West Michigan and their other home in Arizona, Martha says it’s  something she spoke of often.

"I’m thinking one day that’s where I'll see her: in a beautiful garden on the other side," said Riggs. "That gives us hope. We’ll one day meet again. She was one in a million and probably one of the most loyal people ever. Very down to earth, very loving, caring, she was that one in a million friend," said Riggs.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be released for Patty and Ted Syrek.