David Guthrie VanSickle, Jr.
May 16, 1939- July 29, 2022
David Guthrie Van Sickle, Jr. of Solomons, Maryland died Friday, July 29, 2022. He was 83.
Van Sickle was born on May 16, 1939 in Arthurdale, West Virginia to David and Lucy (Gore) Van Sickle. The family later moved to New York state where he graduated from Lancaster Central High School in 1957. On August 18, 1962, he married his wife of nearly 60 years, Beverly (Rohl) Van Sickle. A year later, in 1963, he graduated from General Motors Institute with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
He worked in upper management at General Motors in Detroit, MI and in Lordstown, OH, later developing their gas fields there. After retiring from GM, he worked as president and vice president in the oil and gas industry and in manufacturing companies before returning to the automotive sector as a vice president at AAA. He tested new vehicles and wrote about them. He was a yearly guest on the Today Show announcing the Car of the Year. His extensive knowledge of all facets of the latest models led him to create and produce “Autograph” – AAA’s yearbook containing the specs for competing cars and trucks. He continued with auto journalism even after retiring from AAA, founding his own website, and writing insightful articles for newspapers across the United States. He traveled extensively for years at the invitation of almost every car manufacturer in the world – testing traction on Arctic ice in Lapland, participating in the rally from Paris to Beijing, China, visiting the major international car shows in Las Vegas, Chicago, Berlin, Milan, and Paris to name but a few. He was highly respected by colleagues and heads of the automotive industry alike.
Dave loved mechanics, science, and technology in general from an early age. He and his brother John took apart every piece of electronic equipment they could get their hands on – and then figured out how to put things back together. He built the family’s first TV and did the electrical wiring in the houses he and Bev built. His enviable workshop contained literally every tool imaginable. He collected and rebuilt clocks. He restored several Jeeps from the ground up and enjoyed exploring old mining roads and hiking in the Rocky Mountains with friends and family. Dave had a quick intellect and easy-going manner, making him a favorite to consult on numerous topics. He had a great sense of humor and loved a good pun. Early on, he got his pilot’s license and bought a plane, taking the family on outings and visits. In later years he became an avid fisherman, practicing the sport from Vermont to Alaska and many places in between.
Van Sickle was a member of the First United Presbyterian church and was active with the youth group. He and Bev helped chaperone a group of teenagers on a bike trip to Switzerland in 1979. He was also a Mason and a Shriner in Ohio. Dave was on the board of several automotive groups in addition to being one of the illustrious jurors for the North American Car and Truck of the Year award.
Over the course of Dave’s career, he and Bev moved numerous times, owning homes in Livonia, MI, Salem, OH, Chagrin Falls, OH, Fairfax, VA, Manchester, VT as well as a vacation home and family gathering place in Ouray, CO. The couple finally moved to Solomons, MD in 2016.
He is survived by his wife, Beverly (Rohl) Van Sickle, his daughter Dawn Fischer-Van Sickle and his grandchildren Grace and Kyle Fischer of Karlsruhe, Germany in addition to his sister Becky Eiss of Jefferson, Georgia. He is predeceased by his parents, his brother John R. Van Sickle and his and Bev’s daughter Deborah Lee Van Sickle.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. There will be a later service in Salem, Ohio where he will be interred alongside his daughter Debbie at Grandview Cemetery. Those interested in attending may contact the family or the funeral home for further information.
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