Earl Sturm

Colonel Earl Claude Sturm, U.S. Army, Infantry, Retired, passed away on August 28, 2012. He was 88 and died in the hospital following surgery. Col. and Mrs. Sturm resided in Dacula, Georgia. Col. Sturm was a member of Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church. Col. Sturm was born on July 22, 1924 in Burbank, Oklahoma to Earl and Odessa Schofield Sturm. He graduated from Oklaunion High School in 1941. Upon graduation he matriculated to Oklahoma A&M University. Col. Sturm was inducted into the U.S. Army as an enlisted man in 1942. He received his commission in 1944. During WWII he served as the commander of a rifle company and temporarily as the battalion commander of the 3rd Battalion, 253rd Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division. He commanded his units during the European Campaign and was in command of his units during the Battle of the Bulge and the penetration of the Siegfried Line. Upon the conclusion of WWII, Col. Sturm separated from the Army and returned to college where he earned his degree from Oklahoma A&M. While in college he met his life long sweetheart and wife, Edith Ellen Lackey of Wewoka, Oklahoma. They were married on February 2, 1947. Col. and Mrs. Sturm were married for 65 years. Upon the invasion of South Korea by North Korea, Col. Sturm was recalled to active duty, and once again commanded a unit in combat; Company E, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, designated as a Ranger unit. Col. Sturm’s company led the initial assault and capture of Heart Break Ridge. After turning over the ridge to another company, they subsequently rescued that unit’s troops after they valiantly held the ridge. While Col. Sturm’s troops sustained a high casualty loss on the initial assault, they rescued the survivors with no further casualties. Thereafter, Col. Sturm assumed command of the area. Following three tours of duty in the Korean War, Col. Sturm occupied positions of increasing responsibility and once again commanded a Battalion in combat during the Vietnam era. Col. Sturm retired in 1971. Upon his retirement from active duty in 1971, Col. and Mrs. Sturm moved to Cape Coral, Florida. Shortly after his arrival in Cape Coral, Col. Sturm developed a successful youth tennis organization, a unique aspect of which was the pairing of young tennis players with retirees. Estimates vary greatly, but it is believed over the next 25 years almost 200,000 children participated in the program. In 1990, Col. Sturm received the USTA Service Bowl Award for his efforts to help children, and the Eve Kraft USTA Community Service Award for his significant contributions to the development of a tennis program for Lee County Florida children through the County’s parks and recreation department and schools. In addition to tennis, Col. Sturm loved to play golf and spend time with his three children, his eight grandchildren and his sixteen great-grandchildren. In 2010, Col. Sturm was invested in the Order of Saint Maurice by the U.S. Army. He was the 843rd recipient of this award. Col. Sturm was inducted into this order due to his service to our country, his service to his fellow soldiers and his unquestioned integrity. Col. Sturm is survived by his wife, Edith Lackey Sturm, his brother Wilbert Jack “Red” Sturm of Cut Bank, Montana, his sister Edith Virginia Sturm Greer of Fairbanks, Alaska, his daughter Marybeth Sturm Arnold and her husband Phillip Bruce Arnold of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, his daughter Barbara Edith Sturm Mayer and her husband Timothy David Mayer of Athens, Georgia, and his son Glenn Wesley Sturm of Atlanta, Georgia. He is survived by his grandchildren: Carey Elizabeth Arnold Weaver, Rebecca Ann Arnold Bushyhead, Kimberly Dawn Mayer Green, Katherine Christine “KC” Mayer Jenniges, Kara Michelle Mayer McAlhaney, Beth Marie Sturm, Jay Lindsay Sturm and Daniel Joseph Sturm, as well as his great-grandchildren: Holden Weaver, Megan Weaver, Ty Bushyhead, Tala Mae Bushyhead, Mikah Bushyhead, Max Bushyhead, Jena Bushyhead, Grace Green, Zack Green, Abby Green, Logan Jenniges, Lucy Jenniges, Conner Jenniges, Claire Jenniges, Thomas McAlhaney, and Wesley McAlhaney. Funeral service will be held on Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 3 P.M. at Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church, Dacula, GA. Dr. Dave Davis will officiate. Visitation will precede the service from 2 P.M. - 3 P.M. at the church. A reception will immediately follow the service. Interment will occur at the Ft. Benning Main Post Cemetery, Ft. Benning, GA on Tuesday September 4, 2012 at 10:00 A.M. Flowers may be sent to: Hamilton Mill Memorial Chapel, 3481 Hamilton Mill Road, Buford, GA 30519, 770-945-6924 www.hamiltonmillchapel.com In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to: NIF/Col. Sturm Fund, National Infantry Foundation, Col. Sturm Memorial Fund, 1775 Legacy Way, Suite 220, Columbus, GA 31903. Col. Earl Claude Sturm’s Awards: U.S. Army Staff Identification Badge, U.S. Army Basic Combat Parachutist Badge (1 Jump), U.S. Army Combat Infantry Badge 3rd Award, Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal W/V Double Bronze Oak Leaf, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal 3rd Award, Army Commendation Medal 3rd Award, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation With Army Frame, Republic of Korea (ROK) Korean War Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Korean Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, World War II Occupation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal