In 1961 John Stickler became the first person from Arizona to be selected by the U. S. Peace Corps. That summer, along with 150 other volunteers inspired by President Kennedy, he completed an intensive course in Philippine Studies at Penn State University, but the Selective Service System felt that as a conscientious objector he was unfit for Peace Corps service. The Tucson draft board denied permission for him to leave the country and later drafted him out of graduate school. A year later found him at UN Command Headquarters in South Korea, assigned to a Military Advisory Group.
Taking his discharge in Seoul he established one of the first advertising agencies in that country and spent nine years filing news reports for the CBS radio network. (In this 1974 photo he is interviewing former president Yun Po Sun, put under house arrest by President Park Chung Hee for criticizing his harsh regime.)
After 13 years in Seoul, Stickler and his wife, fine artist Soma Han, and their two boys returned to the States, settling in California. Purchasing a national business magazine, he began a career of publishing, editing, freelance writing and corporate public relations. During the 1990s he began writing books for Fodor's, Berlitz, and the Asian Sources Media Group in Hong Kong. For several years he was editor and publisher of The Mature Traveler, a national newsletter. In 2003 John and Soma joined forces with Shen's Books to publish Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now. The title was subsequently selected by Skipping Stones Magazine for one of its annual Honor Awards.
John and Soma teamed up again on an authentic Korean fairy tale, Maya and the Turtle, launched by Tuttle in the all of 2012. Soma illustrated the story told by her mother when she was a girl in rural Korea.
Currently John is seeking a publisher for a book of word puzzles he created for middle and high school students. It is called Spooneristics.
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