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John Kenneth Sterling Jr.

1924 - 2019
John Kenneth Sterling Jr. Obituary
John Kenneth Sterling Jr.

Westlake Village, CA - John Kenneth Sterling, Jr., age 95, formerly of Canton, Michigan, passed away peacefully at his home at Sunrise Senior Living of Westlake Village in California on October 26, 2019, where he had resided since August 2018. John was the beloved husband of the late Julia Sterling and dear father of Victoria. John is survived by his daughter Victoria Sterling and husband Bruce Young of Malibu, California, his brother W. Patrick and wife Maria Sterling of Davenport, Florida, and his brother and sister-in-law Robert and Sara Toth of Dexter, Michigan, as well as many loving nieces and nephews. John was born January 30, 1924 in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, the son of John and Pearl (McGinnis) Sterling. He was preceded in death by his wife, Julia Harpootian Sterling and older twin sister, Catherine E. (Sterling) Rimas. He lived in Rochester, Michigan and Mt. Clemens, and graduated from St. Mary Catholic High School in 1942. He enrolled at Michigan State University (MSU) that year, but enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII. After being honorably discharged in December 1945 he returned to MSU and earned his B.A. in Journalism, graduating in June 1949. Following graduation John worked for the South Haven Daily Tribune, the South Macomb News weekly and at Rogers Publishing Company in Detroit. He later taught as an intern at Mt.Clemens High School and became a journalism teacher at Saginaw High School. He began a 36-year career with the Huron Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) as a seasonal recreation employee at Metro Beach Metropark (now Lake St. Clair Metropark) in summer 1955. He continued in that post, while continuing to teach, until June 1959, when he was appointed as the first Information Officer for the HCMA Metroparks, serving the counties of Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, Washtenaw and Wayne. John met his wife Julia while working at Rogers Publishing. They married on August 10, 1957 at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Detroit and were married for 57 years until her death in 2014. They lived in Saginaw and then Detroit, where their daughter Victoria was born in 1963. The family moved to Canton Township in July 1972 where they lived for 46 years. John greatly enjoyed his work and was given several awards including HCMA Outstanding Employee in 1989. During his time at HCMA he was also active in professional organizations including the Detroit Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi/SPJ, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and Michigan Outdoor Writers. He received a commendation for 60 Years of Service with Sigma Delta Chi/SPJ in 2008. John retired from the Metroparks on October 11, 1991. He had a passion for tennis and was an avid fan, attending and watching professional matches and collecting more than 300 tennis books. In retirement John kept busy with hobbies and activities including reading several newspapers daily, corresponding and talking by phone with friends and family, and caring for his home & lawn and several pet cats. He and Julia traveled frequently to Florida, Arizona and California where they visited Victoria annually. He moved to California to be near her in 2018 at the age of 94, where he made many new friends. Visitation is Thursday, November 7 from 3-9 p.m. at the L.J. Griffin Funeral home, 42600 Ford Road (west of Lilley) in Canton. The funeral service is Friday, November 8 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel at the L.J. Griffin Funeral Home in Canton. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Society of Professional Journalists, the United States Tennis Association or the USO (United Service Organizations) in support of the U.S. Armed Forces. See website for a detailed obituary and more information.


Published in Observer & Eccentric Newspapers from Nov. 2 to Nov. 10, 2019
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