Memory of Flagler County Rotarian, veteran lives on through new tree
With a solemn composure, Karen Stickle listened to Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland read a speech dedicated to Flagler County Rotarian Sinclair Stickle, who died on Nov. 9, 2017.
A gold chain with her and her late husband’s wedding bands dangled around Karen Stickle’s neck, as arthritis prohibits her from wearing hers on her finger.
It’s been nearly nine months since Karen Stickle lost her husband of 56 years, but on Tuesday, July 31, the Rotary Club of Flagler County honored Sinclair Stickle with a tree-dedication ceremony. The club had recently planted a crepe myrtle tree in Central Park in Town Center to honor Sinclair Stickle, a Korean War veteran and owner of Flagler Air Conditioning, Inc.
“He was something else. He was the better part of me — that’s for sure.”
- KAREN STICKLE, Palm Coast resident on her late husband Sinclair Stickle
He was actively involved in the Rotary Club of Flagler County, the mission of which is to put service above self. That epitomized Sinclair, Club President Cindy Kiel Evans said.
“Much like this hardy tree, Sinclair was a sturdy symbol of towering force, giving strength and grace to his community and his family,” Holland said to a room full of Rotarians and some of Sinclair’s family members in Palm Coast City Hall. “His 27 years of service to our Palm Coast signifies a gentleman who has so obviously earned respect and admiration. Everyone that knew Sinclair saw him as an example of a true leader.”
Beyond his involvement with the Rotary Club, Sinclair was passionate about educating people on the Korean War. Karen Stickle said her husband was always frustrated with the lack of discussion on “the Forgotten War.” So, he wrote a book to change that. In 2013, Sinclair Stickle’s book, “So They Will Know: a Korean War Memoir,” was published.
“The reason he wrote this book — well, one of the reasons — he was upset because nobody talked about Korea,” Karen Stickle said. “He was there, and he saw the carnage and his buddies dying right alongside of him, things like that. So, I said, ‘Why don’t you just write it all down?’ And he said, ‘Maybe I’ll write a book.’ So, he wrote the book. He said, ‘I don’t know what to call it.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re doing it so your grandkids will know, so why don’t you call it ‘So They Will Know?’ So that’s what it was; it was really for his grandchildren.”
At every Veterans Day luncheon the Rotary Club held, Sinclair Stickle gifted copies of his book to veterans.
But he wasn’t done writing, which Karen Stickle only learned recently when she stumbled upon about 10 pages of Sinclair’s writing in their Palm Coast home.
“I’m so sorry he didn’t get to finish it because it was so interesting,” she said.
His legacy will live on through the blossoming tree — his son Scott’s favorite kind — in Central Park, Evans said. His memory was also honored at Arlington National Cemetery in late June.
“He was something else,” Karen Stickle said with a quivering voice. “He was the better part of me — that’s for sure.”