Theodore Sanders Stern

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Theodore Sanders Stern CHARLESTON - Theodore Sanders "Ted" Stern, one of the most significant figures in the 20th Century of Charleston, died January 18, 2013 at the age of 100. A Celebration of Ted's Life will be held Monday, January 21, 2013 at the Cistern at the College of Charleston at 1:00 pm. In the event of inclement weather, the service will be held at The Sotille Theater. ARRANGEMENTS BY J. HENRY STUHR, INC. DOWNTOWN CHAPEL. The family will greet friends at the Stern Center Ballroom at the conclusion of the service until 3:00 pm. Universally known as Ted, Stern was president of the College of Charleston from 1968 to 1978. As president he transformed the college from a small, private, financially insolvent institution of 481 students to a public liberal arts college of more than 5,000 undergraduates. His $34 million expansion of the college in the early 1970s was a major factor in the economic and physical renaissance of Charleston. During his tenure, the school's annual operating budget grew from $700,000 to more than $13 million. When he "retired" in 1978 the school had an annual $38 million impact on the region's economy. Among Ted Stern's contributions to Charleston was his role as the founding president of Spoleto, the internationally acclaimed music and performing arts festival. He also served as president of the Charleston Rotary Club where he was instrumental in directing a $9,000 grant to start a community foundation which today is the Coastal Carolina Community Foundation with assets exceeding $147 million. He later was Governor for Rotary District 771, covering eastern South Carolina and parts of North Carolina. He headed the local and state United Way, the Coastal Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Trident Forum for the handicapped and the Charleston Substance Abuse Commission. Among the many boards on which Stern served were the South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston Symphony, Spaulding Paolozzi Foundation, the Saul Alexander Foundation, South Carolina Blue Ribbon Commission on Education, Carolina Art Association, Historic Charleston Foundation, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Concert Association, and the Historic Charleston Foundation. Stern was also active in Sparta, North Carolina where he owned a farm. There he helped establish the local Chamber of Commerce and the Blue Ridge Bank. He also started the Christmas tree growing business which today is that area's largest industry. Ted Stern was born on Christmas Day 1912 in New York City to Birdie and Hugo Stern. His father had immigrated in 1889 from Frankfurt, Germany. His maternal great grandparents had emigrated from Cologne, Germany in the mid-19th Century. Growing up on New York's upper West Side, Stern was surrounded by an accomplished family of businessmen, physicians, and teachers. He attended Columbia Grammar School where he became a champion swimmer and was active in student government. Following his graduation from Columbia Grammar School in 1930, Ted attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he continued his lively interest in extracurricular activities including student government and swimming. In the mid -1930s he held positions in the advertising, insurance and oil businesses. He was also active in a variety of Baltimore's charities. In 1940 he headed the Young Democrats of Maryland and attended the Democratic Convention in Chicago that nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt for his third term. In October, 1940 Ted Stern joined the Maryland Naval Reserves and was immediately called up and sent to the Panama Canal Zone. There, as Ensign Stern - Officer of the Day, he was the first to receive the alert of the Japanese December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. He was assigned with commanding 400 men to establish an advance air patrol base at Salinas, Ecuador. In May 1942 Stern directed his men to assist Ecuador in responding to a devastating earthquake. In recognition of his decisive humanitarian action, the Ecuadorian government presented Ted Stern with its Abdon Calderon medal. He also received a citation and another medal from the town of Salinas. For the remainder of WWII, Stern played a key role in the construction of two naval bases in the western Pacific which were, at the time, the largest such bases outside the continental United States. For his service in the Pacific Theater, Ted Stern was awarded a Bronze Star, with a "V" for valor. After the War, Stern attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and served in naval posts in Norfolk, Honolulu, Great Lakes and at the Pentagon. During the 1956 Suez Crisis, Stern briefed President Dwight Eisenhower on the world's oil situation. Stern attained the rank of Captain in 1959. Stern came to Charleston in 1965 to head the Naval Supply Center. The assignment was endorsed by L. Mendel Rivers, South Carolina's powerful, long time Congressman and chair of the House Armed Services Committee. The Charleston Naval Supply Center had a staff of 1,400 and assets of more than $1 billion. Stern ended the Jim Crow vestiges at the Navy Base and headed the first Equal Opportunity Commission in the armed forces. As a member of the Charleston Community Relations Committee, Stern was instrumental in calming tensions during Charleston's divisive 1969 hospital strike. Stern's active involvement in the community brought him contact with Joe Riley, Sr. who became Ted Stern's closest friend. Both Congressmen Rivers and Joe Riley, Sr. were instrumental in Stern's selection in August 1968 as the 16th President of the College of Charleston. Stern received many honors and awards for his service including: Honorary Doctorates from Presbyterian College, Francis Marion College, The Citadel, Medical University of South Carolina, the College of Charleston, and the University of Charleston. He also received an award for his support of the arts from the National Governor's Association, the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award from the South Carolina Arts Commission, the Special Award for Historic Preservation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Chairman's Award from the South Carolina Aquarium, and the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He achieved the rank of a 33rd Degree Mason, K.C.C.H. Ted was an Elder and long-time member of First (Scots) Presbyterian Church. Mayor Joe Riley, Jr. has said that Stern's contributions to Charleston were "unparalleled," and described him as "the most profound leader of his era." Senator Fritz Hollings said, "Everything Ted Stern touched in Charleston blossomed." On June 10, 1950 Ted Stern married Alva Marie Durkee of Baltimore. Alva, Ted's wife of 58 years, died in 2009. Stern was also preceded in death by his daughter, Frances McKnight. He is survived by his son, T.S. "Sandy" Stern, Jr. of Greenville, SC, his daughter, Elisabeth and her husband, Dan Edwards, Jr. of Sparta, North Carolina, and daughter, Carol Lee "Tippy" and her husband Michael Brickman of Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, and eleven grandchildren: Eric Johnston, Frances Stern, Daniel Stern, Frank Stern, Allison Stern, Evan Brickman, Robert Brickman, Ben Smith, Hilary Smith Mariano, Lucas Edwards, and Tyler Edwards. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made in Ted's name to The College of Charleston Foundation, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424 or the . A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting our website at Visit our guestbook at charleston

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J. Henry Stuhr Downtown Chapel
232 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 723-2524
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Published in Charleston Post & Courier on Jan. 19, 2013
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