Neil David Van Sickle, of Kalispell died of natural causes on September 29, 2019.
Neil was born to Mr. and Mrs. G.R. Van Sickle of Minot, North Dakota, on July 8, 1915. He was one of seven boys with one sister who all grew up in Minot. His was a life of 104 years of dedicated service to his country, his community, and his family. He graduated from West Point in 1938. At the time of his death he was the oldest living graduate of West Point. He married Marjorie Sims of The Dalles, Oregon in December of 1938. He began his military assignments with the 4th Cavalry (horse) at Fort Meade, South Dakota. In 1940 he attended the Air Corps Flying School, graduating as a pilot in 1941. During WWII he served as a squadron commander for North Atlantic antisubmarine patrol and later as squadron commander in Saipan for operations over Japan. After the war, his assignments included the American staff of the United Nations Military Staff Committee. He served as Chief of Operations of the Yukon Air Division, Alaskan Air Command, Chief of Aircraft Programming Division, Headquarters, U.S Air Force, Washington, D.C., Commander, 28th Bombardment Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, as Chief of Operations and later Chief of Staff, U.S. Taiwan Defense Command, where he was promoted to Brigadier General. He then became Chief of Operations, Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii, and later Commander, Air Force Navigation Training, Mather Air Force Base, California. He served as Assistant Chief of Staff, Flying Training, Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, followed by being Commander Air Force Recruiting Service. He was promoted to Major General and his last assignment was as Air Force Deputy Inspector General, in Washington D. C.
He retired from the Air Force in 1968 and moved to Rapid City, South Dakota. He and his family owned and operated a horse training and breeding ranch in the Black Hills. While there he served two terms as County Commissioner of Pennington County. When his wife Marjorie became ill in 1986 he moved to Portland, Oregon, so she could be closer to where their three daughters lived. Marjorie died there in 1987. He later married a family friend, Faye Hughes Moreland of Forth Worth, Texas, and settled in Kalispell where his son Peter, lived. Faye died 2010. Neil was a member of the Christ Lutheran Church of Whitefish. As a Rotarian, he was president of the Kalispell Noon Club in 1998. He authored two books, Modern Airmanship, 1957, which in eight editions became known as “The Airman’s Bible”, and The Indian Way, Indians and the North America Fur Trade, published in 2012. He was a strong supporter of Boys and Girls Clubs in several locations. He leaves daughter, Anne Van Sickle (Larry Ewing), of McMinnville, Oregon, daughter Kathleen Leatham (Ray Leatham), of Carlton, Oregon, son Peter (Patricia Van Sickle), of Poulsbo, Washington, and daughter Jane Van Sickle of Othello, Washington. He is preceded in death by brothers Paul, Bruce, Ross, Jerry, Harry, Earl, and sister Grace Treat. He has nine grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. If you so choose, please make donations in memory of Neil D. Van Sickle to your local Boys and Girls Club.
A memorial will be held at Christ Lutheran Church in Whitefish, MT at 11:00am, October 22, 2019. There will be a luncheon at the church following the memorial service followed by graveside service at Conrad Memorial Cemetery. Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.