Obituary of Fredrick Lewis Sickelbower, Jr.
Fredrick Lewis "Rick" Sickelbower, Jr. died of cancer on March 31, 2023, at home in Olympia, Washington. Born on July 7, 1950, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Rick was adopted at birth by Fred Lewis Sickelbower and Loretta (Goetz) Sickelbower. His father was an oil drilling supervisor who worked in Texas, Alberta, Montana, and Colorado during Rick’s childhood. The family settled in Salina, Kansas, where Rick attended high school, graduating from Salina High School Central in 1969.
Rick joined the U.S. Navy in January 1970, serving as a gunner’s mate on the USS Gompers and as a member of the commissioning crew of the USS Downes. He was honorably discharged from active duty in 1973 and served in the Naval Reserve until 1976.
Rick returned to Salina, Kansas, where he married Sue Shank (1974-1990) and graduated as a welder and machinist from vocational school in 1974. His favorite job was as a tool and die machinist. In 1983, he had an opportunity to move to the Pacific Northwest where he had first visited when stationed at Bremerton, Wash. He settled in Olympia and worked as a journeyman machinist for Mega Machine Shop in Tumwater until 2001.
Rick married Terry E. Rice in 2001 and began his second career, as a massage therapist. He delighted in his ability to provide effective massage for headaches and muscle injuries. He became a very skilled and patient white-water canoeist, martial artist (tae kwon do and jujitsu), stained glass artist, furniture builder and wood turner. He was a man of integrity and gentleness who loved his wife and family and dogs, and always spoke the truth with kindness.
Rick is survived by his wife, Terry Sickelbower; stepdaughter, Laura (Edward) Tang; stepson, Alan (Robyn) Rice; grandchildren, Amelia and Matilda Tang and Abraham and Ruth Rice; and aunt, Mary Goetz.
A memorial service will be held for Rick at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at the Coach House, 211 21st Ave. SW, Olympia, WA 98501. A reception will follow. Donations may be made to the Thurston County Animal Shelter or a charity of your choice.
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