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Walker Sanderson Funeral Home - Orem
646 East 800 North
Orem, UT 84097
(801) 226-3500
Visitation
Friday, Oct. 25, 2019
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Walker Sanderson Funeral Home - Orem
646 East 800 North
Orem, UT 84097
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Interment
Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019
11:00 AM
Maeser Fairview Cemetery
400 South 3500 West
Vernal, UT
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Memorial service
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019
11:00 AM
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
10000 Stoneybrook Dr.
Kensington, MD
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Sterling Don Colton


1929 - 2019
Sterling Don Colton Obituary
Apr. 28, 1929 - Oct. 8, 2019
Sterling Don Colton (90), returned to his Heavenly Father and Elder Brother Jesus Christ on October 8, 2019, shortly after his move to Provo, Utah, due to causes related to Parkinson's Disease and age. Many family members and friends were able to visit him in the weeks preceding his death. Known for his thoughtful and wise counsel, he interacted with, and counted as friends, a wide range of people from all walks of life. His love for people knew no boundaries. His quiet and gentle touch was felt by all he met and his individual one-on-one ministering was where he found his greatest joy, where his impact was at its best, and where his example and love will impact generations to come.
Sterling was born April 28, 1929 in Vernal, Utah to Hugh Wilkins and Marguerite Maughan Colton. He loved his Vernal community and found great joy in meeting anyone with Vernal roots.
Sterling was named after his grandfather, Sterling Driggs Colton, who homesteaded in the Uintah Basin and was one of the first sheriffs there, and after his uncle Don Byron Colton who served fourteen years in the U.S. Congress. He prioritized connections with his extended Colton family of cousins, aunts and uncles.
Sterling was educated in the public schools and participated in debate, sports and other activities. He served as senior class president at Uintah High School. He helped manage the family farm while his father fought in Europe during World War II.
Sterling received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Utah in 1950. He was on the debate team and served as junior class president. He was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, Skull & Bones, Owl & Key, and Beehive societies. He later was on the University's National Board of Visitors for many years, serving two years as Chairman, and taught business law in the business school.
Sterling graduated from Stanford Law School in 1953 receiving a juris doctor degree. He was on the Stanford Law Review along with William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor.
Upon graduation from law school he received an ROTC commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in field artillery and served two and a half years on active duty during the Korean War serving in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and in the JAG section of the Seventh Army, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. He later retired as a major in the Army Reserve.
By far, the greatest decision of his life was to marry Eleanor Ricks on August 6, 1954 after an often long distance courtship of over five years. They shared a deep and loving relationship, raised four children, served side by side in many Church assignments, supported each other in a wide range of individual and shared responsibilities and loved their global adventures together. He lived his philosophy as stated in a letter to his grandchildren: "After having the good fortune to share so many years together, love is a matter of anxious concern for the wellbeing of one's companion."
In 1957 he joined the law firm of VanCott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy in Salt Lake City, Utah. He moved to Maryland in 1966 to work with Marriott Corporation, retiring as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Marriott International.
He also served as founder and President of the Washington Metropolitan Area Counsel Association; Chairman of the Litigation Section of the American Chamber of Commerce; Director of the Polynesian Cultural Center; on the board of trustees of Southern Virginia University; the Board of Visitors of the J. Reuben Clark Law School; and on boards of directors of Dyn Corp. and Dynelectric Corporation.
He was active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as President of the LDS Servicemen's Branch in Stuttgart Germany; Elders Quorum President in the Bonneville Ward; Stake Missionary in the Bonneville Stake; Counselor in the Potomac and Potomac South Wards, Washington D.C. North Mission and Washington D.C. Stake; Bishop in the Potomac South and Washington D.C. Singles Wards; President of the Canada Vancouver Mission and the Washington D.C. Temple, and Patriarch of the Washington D.C. Stake.
While his health declined as a result of Parkinson's disease, he remained a great example of strength and service. The family would like to thank the caregivers who lovingly took care of him during the past three and a half years and the amazing work of Montgomery Hospice who assisted with Dad over this past year and the many friends and family who showed their care and love to him in many ways.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Eleanor Ricks Colton; their daughter Carolyn of Bethesda Maryland; his three sons and their wives, Sterling David and Julie Haycock Colton of Mesa, Arizona; Bradley Hugh and Melanie Farrell Colton of Bethesda, Maryland; and Steven Ricks and Jeri Cash Colton of Johns Creek, Georgia; his sister-in-law Colleen Colton of Bountiful, Utah; his brother-in-law Robert Bradley Sr. of Uzes, France; and his brother and sister-in-law John Phillip and Barbara Snyder Colton of Sandy, Utah. They have 17 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews whom he loved. He was pre-deceased by his sister Nancy Bradley and brother Hugh Maughan.
A visitation will be held on Friday, October 25th, 2019, at the Walker Sanderson Funeral Home, 646 East 800 North, Orem, Utah from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. Interment on Saturday, October 26th, 2019, in the Maeser Fairview Cemetery, 11:00 am, 400 South 3500 West, Vernal, Utah 84078. A memorial service will be held on November 16, 2019, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 11:00 am, at 10000 Stoneybrook Dr. Kensington MD 20895. Condolences may be offered to the family online at www.walkersanderson.com.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Sterling and Eleanor Colton Chair of Law and Religion at the Brigham Young Law School (https://www.iclrs.org/make-a-conttribution/). Sterling believed that religious liberty for everyone, everywhere was a key for peaceful societies and true democracy.
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Published in Deseret News on Oct. 13, 2019
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