March/April 2007 issue

In Memoriam: Judge Bruce Van Sickle


U.S. District Judge Bruce Van Sickle, of the District of North Dakota, died on Saturday, April 21st. He was 90 years old.

Bruce Marion Van Sickle was born in Minot, North Dakota, in 1917. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in 1939 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1941.

From 1941 to 1945 he served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1946 he served as an adjudicator for the U.S. Veterans Administration in Seattle, Washington. From 1946 to 1947 he worked as a title attorney at Bonneville Power in Portland, Oregon. He then returned to Minot, where he practiced until his appointment to the federal bench in 1971. During this time he also served as a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives - from 1957 to 1959.

In his 13 years as U.S. District Judge, he presided over two landmark cases: a class action suit which ultimately changed how the state cares for its mentally disabled citizens; and another class-action lawsuit involving the rights of Farmers Home Administration borrowers.

Van Sickle is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and their four children.