December 6, 1930 - October 22, 2018
John Alton Sterling was born in El Dorado, Arkansas on December 6, 1930 to James and Ouida Sterling. His first 8 years were spent in Mississippi before the family moved to eastern Nebraska. After graduating from Weeping Water, Nebraska high school, he enlisted in the US Navy and served aboard aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan. In 1951 John married Joy Lenker. John and Joy had 5 children and were foster parents to many children spanning a 28 year period. John received his call to the ministry while aboard an aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan, and never, in the ensuing years ever questioned that call. He was honorably discharged in 1954, enrolled in Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma earning a bachelor’s degree and then completed a graduate degree in Theology and Ministerial Studies in 1962. He served as an ordained ministered for the next 65 years, pastoring churches in Kansas and Alabama. He was a man of many interest and talents. He loved to read, analyze the stock market, collect model cars and tractors, enjoyed woodworking, gardening, and talking about his antique car. Most of all, he loved his family and his greatest joy was to be with them. After a nearly miraculous healing from a life-threatening illness in 2013, God gave John a dream about a men’s Bible study in which there were six men, 3 whom he knew and 3 he did not. The dream was so vivid, he pondered it for several weeks, mentioning it to several others. At the first meeting, there were 6 men present–3 he knew, and 3 he did not. The Bible study eventually grew to nearly 20 committed men who meet every week to pray and study. He was still leading the Bible study last week and he regarded it as one of the highlights of his life. John died suddenly and unexpectedly of natural causes on October 22, 2018 just 3 hours after enjoying a church service and a quiet time at home. He was preceded in death by his parents, his 4-year-old son, Jason, and 2 brothers, Edwin and Charles (Joe) Sterling. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, and 4 children, John (Melanie) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, James (Betty) of College Station, Texas, Joel (Tonya) of Silverhill, Alabama, and Jeanne Hampton of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He has 10 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren, a sister, Daleene Ossenkop of Lincoln, Nebraska, a foster son, Carl Buck of Pensacola, Florida, and many nieces and nephews. John’s death leaves a big hole; he impacted countless lives. We will always be inspired by his devotion and commitment to his Savior, Jesus Christ, and his love for everyone whose life he touched. He was truly a man of God, and when he entered heaven, surely God said to him, “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” A memorial service will be held Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at Silverhill First Baptist Church in Silverhill, AL.
John Alton Sterling was born in El Dorado, Arkansas on December 6, 1930 to James and Ouida Sterling. His first 8 years were spent in Mississippi before the family moved to eastern Nebraska. After graduating from Weeping Water, Nebraska high... View Obituary & Service Information
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