Local attorney, WKU grad, WWII vet dies at 98

Photo courtesy of J.C. Kirby & Sons.

Photo courtesy of J.C. Kirby & Sons.

Michael Dylan Payne, News reporter

Last Wednesday, James Channing Stickles, 98, the oldest son of Dr. Art M. Stickles—the first department head of the history department at WKU—was laid to rest at Fairview Cemetery, according to his obituary provided by J.C. Kirby & Sons.

Stickles is believed to have been the oldest living WKU History Department Alumni before his death last month, according to David Lee, the university historian. 

His death comes just weeks after his childhood home was moved from Chestnut Street to Oaklawn Way, where the hundred year old home will undergo renovations.

“Jim lived all of his life on Chestnut Street, in Dr. A.M. Stickles home that was built there in the earlier part of the 20th century,” Hamp Moore, local Bowling Green attorney, said of his friend James Stickles.

Stickles was a lifelong resident of Bowling Green and attended the K-12 school the university ran from 1924 to 1970, as well as attending WKU after graduation from high school, according to Moore. 

“He was a History major at WKU and ultimately went off to the University of Virginia to get his law degree,” Moore said. “He completed that degree just before the outbreak of WWII and he went off to serve in the army.”

Stickles was brought to Europe shortly after D-Day and was seriously injured in the Ardennes Counteroffensive, more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge, according to Moore. 

“He was missing for almost 2 weeks in the chaos that followed that battle, was found near death and was hospitalized in France for several months before being returned,” Moore said. 

After the war, Stickles went on to become a law clerk for the Chief Justice of the then-Kentucky Court of Appeals, although never conventionally practicing law, according to Moore. 

“The results of his injuries and his war service prevented Jim from ever practicing law after the war,” Moore said.  “Those sort of injuries, both physical and mental, have a way of lasting with you for a long, long time and while his injuries weren’t visible I assure you they impacted his life greatly even to his death just last month.”

Although never practicing law, Stickles was very proud of the profession he chose, according to Moore. 

“He was a great guy and a really smart man. He was immensely proud of his law degree from the University of Virginia—as he should have been— and even until the last few years maintaining his membership in the Kentucky Bar Association, and really prided himself in staying current in his profession.” 

Stickles was born in his fathers house on Chestnut on January 22, 1923 and died on August 26, 2021. 

Memorial contributions can be made in his name to The Presbyterian Church on State Street.

 Michael Dylan Payne can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @mdpayne_.