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Van Sickle, Emily 1910–2005

VAN SICKLE, Emily 1910–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born October 23, 1910, in Vicksburg, MS; died of dementia, March 10, 2005, in Rockville, MD. Secretary and author. Van Sickle is best remembered for her memoir describing her years in a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines during World War II. Earning a bachelor's degree from Goucher College in 1931, she moved with her family to the Philippines in 1935 and two years later married an international businessman. When Japan invaded the Philippines, the couple was imprisoned, along with thousands of other Americans living on the island. Van Sickle endured nearly intolerable conditions from 1942 until the camp was liberated in 1945. The only bright point of those years was the kindness of local priests who interceded on the couple's behalf to try and gain some leniency from the Japanese military. The Japanese were about to execute a plan to kill all the prisoners when Allied forces rescued them. After the war Van Sickle's husband suffered ill health as a result of the poor camp conditions and died within a few years. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, she found work as a business administrator and part-time secretary for American University. She also worked for the Postal Rate Commission for two years, and continued working in various jobs until the mid-1980s. Her memoir The Iron Gates of Santo Tomas: The Firsthand Account of an American Couple Interned by the Japanese in Manila, 1942–1945 was published in 1992 and was still in print at the time of her death.

OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Washington Post, March 26, 2005, p. B5.

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