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Robert S. Sternberger


1920 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Robert S. Sternberger Obituary
Robert S. Sternberger

96, Indianapolis passed away on November 8, 2017, at his home. The family wishes to thank all those who looked after him, especially those affiliated with the Roudebush VA Facility in Indianapolis. The family is forever in their debt for the care and concern they showed throughout the many years Dad was under their primary, audiology, vision, dermatological, and specialist care.

As with all things with Dad, he loved being in control. Thus, he wrote his own obituary, which follows.

Robert S. Sternberger was born In Indianapolis, Indiana, on December 4, 1920, to Sidney J. and Helen B. Sternberger. He attended James Whitcomb Riley School 43, and graduated from Shortridge High School in 1938. He attended Purdue University's school of Mechanical Engineering and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi Omega honorary fraternity. While attending Purdue, he received his private pilot license in 1940.

Bob worked for Allison Engineering as a test engineer until he was accepted into the Army Air Corps in April 1941. He received his primary training at Parks Air College and his basic at Randolph Field, Texas. He received his wings as a fighter pilot on December 12, 1941 at Victoria, Texas. During World War II, Bob was a test pilot for the Glenn L. Martin Company, flying B-26 bombers, and was also an airline pilot with TWA, flying C-54 transports. Bob flew many important passengers including Elliott Roosevelt, several Generals, and Oveta Culp Hobby (head of the WACs), flying over the North and South Atlantic routes during WWII.

After the war Bob was Vice-President of Sternberger Brothers, Inc., which operated a chain of ten retail stores throughout Indiana. In July, 1957, Bob entered the life insurance business and qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table every year he was in the business. He earned the professional insurance designations of CLU and RHU, and was a thirty-time recipient of the National Quality Award and the National Sales Achievement award. He was a 35-time qualifier for the Indiana Life and Health Leaders Club and qualified for the Health Insurance Quality Award and the Leading Producer's Round Table of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Bob was a Gold Key member of CLU, and served on the local board of that organization for 6 years. He was honored as a recipient of a scholarship to a CLU Institute held in London. He served as President of the Indianapolis Association of Life Underwriters during a total of 21 years on their board. Bob was also Vice President among many other offices he held for the Indiana State Association of Life Underwriters. He was President of the Life and Health Leaders Club Indiana and served on their board many years as well.

Bob was president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Alumni Association of Indiana. He also was President of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre during their last year at the Alabama Street address and the first year at the Art Museum site. He was heavily involved with the financing and construction of that new building. Bob also developed the Family Organ Donor Program which provided forms for families to express their wishes regarding organ donation. These forms were distributed in several states through their auto license bureaus and were the forerunner of the "check the box" organ donation election on many states' driver's licenses today.

Bob's main interest was aviation and he owned two Bonanza single engine airplanes which he loved to fly all over the country. He and his family enjoyed trips to California, Lake Louise (Banff), and many other places. His other favorite hobby was photography which he combined with his love of travel. As a world traveler, Bob was a Certified Scuba diver and visited many parts of the globe in pursuit of this activity. He was active in Voyager 1000 Travel club and served on its advisory committee. Bob was a 60-year member of Meridian Street United Methodist Church. In addition, he had been a member of the Columbia Club, Variety Club, Aero Club, Riviera Club, Lambs Club, and the Players Club. Bob was also a member of the Oriental Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Murat Shrine, Kiwanis Club of Meridian Hills, and The American Legion Post #153. He also belonged to the Purdue Alumni Association, Indianapolis Zoological Society, and Indiana DeMolay Foundation, as well as the Service Club of Indianapolis, of which he became most fond in his later years. He was a Kentucky Colonel, an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel Aide-de-Camp in the Alabama Militia, an Honorary Colonel Aide-de-Camp in the Tennessee Militia, and was named a Distinguished Hoosier by Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.

Bob leaves behind two children, Stephen J. Sternberger (TaeSun) of Alpharetta, GA, and Nancy S. Hardin (Tom) of Indianapolis. He also had two grandsons, Ethan Robert Burris (Cherrylynn) of Austin, TX. and Noah White Burris who predeceased him, and two great-granddaughters, Cadalyn Jane Burris and Ainsley Grace Burris, also of Austin, TX. He was predeceased by his long-time friend and companion, Irene Brodey.

Donations may be made to the Service Club of Indianapolis Foundation, P. O. Box 30248, Indianapolis, IN 46230. Arrangements provided by Legacy Cremation & Funeral Services - Lawrence.
Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Nov. 19, 2017
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