EAST WENATCHEE — Longtime judge Fred L. Van Sickle of East Wenatchee died Sept. 2 at age 78.

Van Sickle served as a federal judge for more than 30 years after 20 years spent as a prosecutor and Superior Court judge in North Central Washington.

Fred Van Sickle

Fred Van Sickle

In 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Van Sickle to the U.S. Eastern District Court in Spokane to serve as a federal judge.

“Praised at the time as one of Washington’s outstanding superior court trial judges, Judge Van Sickle brought a true understanding of rural Washington to the many difficult and complex civil and criminal matters, including several high-profile cases,” wrote Chief United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian in a news release.

He described Van Sickle as someone “highly respected by his colleagues for his calm and deliberate presence in the courtroom.”

Van Sickle earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1965 and then his law degree from the University of Washington in 1968. He served as Douglas County prosecutor from 1970 to 1975 when he was appointed a superior court judge for Grant and Douglas, a position he held until 1979. He then served as superior court judge for Chelan and Douglas counties from 1979 until he moved to the federal bench.

Van Sickle was the district’s chief judge from 2000 to 2005. From 2005 until his death, he served as a senior judge with an office in the Wenatchee Valley. Bastian wrote that this allowed him to continue overseeing cases, while “enjoying skiing, biking, and fishing with his family and grandchildren in the rural Washington he served so diligently.”

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