A 1920 graduate of Aberdeen's Weatherwax High School, Van Syckle studied journalism at the University of Oklahoma and returned to Cosmopolis to publish a weekly for two years. Famed editor Werner Rupp lured Van Syckle to the Aberdeen Daily World in 1927, and there he covered the Grays Harbor story from stump to wharf until he retired as editor in 1969.
As a 14-year-old, he earned 75 cents each 10-hour day in a Harbor planing mill. Later, he earned his way through college working summers felling trees, chasing rigging, whistlepunking, and setting chokers. He covered the Harbor waterfront for a decade and once made a Pacific voyage with Capt. Matt Peasley aboard the five-mast "Vigilant."
(From the bio by Dave James on the back of Van Syckle's first book, "They Tried to Cut it All".)