He was born Oct. 20, 1920, in Brookshire, Texas, to Fred and Jean Ebel.
Sterling grew up in Brookshire except for a short stay in San Marcos, Texas, while his mother earned her teaching certificate. He had one brother, Fred Jr. His parents and brother preceded him in death.
He enjoyed outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing and various sports, especially baseball and track and field. His hobbies included collecting firearms, cooking, reading, classical music and singing.
After graduating from Katy (Texas) High School in 1938, he did some carpentry work. In 1940 he moved to Southern California and worked for Lockheed Aircraft as a general assembly supervisor. Sterling was drafted and joined the U.S. Navy in 1944. Because of his training at Lockheed, he worked as an aviator metalsmith and was stationed at Norman, Okla. During his two years in the Navy, he also sang for different chaplains. In 1945 he married Marguerite Green. They had one daughter.
Sterling earned a bachelor’s degree in music (voice) at the University of Oklahoma in 1950. He then returned to Southern California where he earned a master’s degree in music (voice) at the University of Southern California (USC) in 1951. His dream was to sing opera professionally, but his work path eventually took him in a different direction.
Sterling worked as the assistant to the Dean of the School of Music at USC and later as the assistant to the Dean of Admissions. In 1955 he began working for Stephens College, a private women’s college in Missouri, as an admissions recruiter. Beginning in 1965 he was employed by The American College Testing Program.
When transferred to Portland, he met Dolores “Dee” Yount. They married Aug. 6, 1966.
Work took them back to California, and he became an admissions counselor at California State University Sacramento (CSUS) in 1970. While at Sacramento State he volunteered as a crisis-line counselor. He enjoyed advising and counseling students to help them succeed in life. He retired in 1990 on his 70th birthday.
Sterling placed his personal faith in Jesus Christ as his savior in 1975. His philosophy was “things go better with God.” He often wore a lapel pin that said, “Try God.”
After retirement, Sterling and Dee moved to Brookings. They soon settled in the Brookings Presbyterian Church as their spiritual home. As his physical condition began to decline, he was moved to Ocean Park, an assisted living facility, where he spent the remainder of his years.
He is survived by the two people he loved “totally and completely” — Dee, his wife of 46 years and Sydne Marie, his only daughter who resides in Colorado Springs, Colo. Also surviving are his sister-in-law Lois Ebel of Lancaster, Calif.; two nephews and nieces, and their respective families in various locations in California.
A memorial service will at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Brookings Presbyterian Church, 540 Pacific Ave.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to the Brookings Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 697, Brookings, OR 97415.
Submitted by the family.