Dr. Duane Ray Sterling, age 85, passed away January 22, 2023 surrounded by his family.
Duane is survived by his wife Pat, three daughters: Allison Ludlam (Chuck), Shannon Pierce (Chris) and Tiffany Sterling (Raul Gutierrez). Six grandchildren: Brook Filis (Kaleb), Chase Ludlam (Mackenzie), Haley Pierce, Sterling Pierce, Liv Gutierrez and Rome Gutierrez. Three great grandchildren: Landry Filis, Cade Ludlam and Charlotte Ludlam.
Duane was born on January 18, 1938, to Raymond Alger and Opal Josephine (McBroom) Sterling in Tipton, Missouri. He graduated from California High School in 1955. Duane attended Central College where he played on the men's basketball team in Fayette, Missouri. He then chose to join the U.S. Army where he served for three years.
Duane then attended Southwest Missouri State University where he met the love of his life, Patricia Jo Allison. They married on April 20, 1962 and both received their Bachelor of Science in Education degrees in May that year. They moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where they received their Master of Science in Education degrees from Louisiana State University. Duane continued and completed his Ph.D. in Kinesiology and Zoology from Louisiana State University in 1969. His love of education ran deep.
Duane and Pat arrived in Warrensburg, Missouri in 1965 where Duane was a professor in the physical education department at Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri). He spent time on the coaching staff of the Mules men's basketball, tennis and golf teams. He then transitioned to administrative roles including Assistant to the Vice President for Administrative Affairs, Assistant to the President and his final position as University Director of Planning, Governmental and Informational Services. Duane concluded his distinguished 32-year career at the University when he retired in 1997.
Duane was a faithful servant to the community. He participated and held leadership roles with the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce, WAFB Community Council, Missouri Boys State, American Legion, Warrensburg Missouri Sesquicentennial Committee, United Way, Warrensburg First Christian Church, and Jaycees. His love of community ran deep.
In 1970, Duane joined the Warrensburg Rotary club and found a place where he could fulfill his passion for community and service. He was an active member for over 50 years, and expanded into leadership roles that included Club President 1983-84, District Rotarian of the Year 1985, District Governor 1987-88, Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator, Chair of the Rotary Peace Symposium, and General Manager of the Rotary Foundation for Rotary International 1997-2003.
After Duane retired from the University, he followed his passion for the Rotary organization and accepted a full-time position as the General Manager of the Rotary Foundation for Rotary International. Duane and Pat moved to Evanston, Illinois where he served at the Rotary International Headquarters. During his tenure, he impacted the world by helping establish seven International Peace Centers with partnering universities such as Duke, University of North Carolina, and the University of Bradford, England. Since their inception over 1500 students from all over the world have completed a Master’s program or certificate in international development policy, peacekeeping, and conflict resolution. He also continued the fight to eradicate the world of polio through awareness & fundraising campaigns, and bringing vaccines to remote areas of the world. His love of Rotary ran deep.
After Duane's second retirement, he and Pat moved back to their home in Warrensburg, where they enjoyed their family and friends to the fullest. He enjoyed spending time on family vacations he planned, taking his son-in-laws on fishing trips, watching his grandkid's sporting and life events, fishing trips with his "Good Ol' Boy" high school friends, attending UCM events, and celebrating with his family with games, laughter, stories, and so much love. He not only loved traveling the world, he loved his daily trips to Starbucks. His kind and generous spirit allowed him to make amazing connections wherever he went in his life. His love of family and friends ran deep.
Duane's life was led by his faith in God, the strong love for his family, and the Rotary Four-Way Test. His love, loyalty, friendship, and community contributions will be incredibly missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made in honor of Duane Sterling, to the Kansas City Hospice House, 12000 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64145. Online contributions can be made to kchospice.org/donation.
A Celebration of Life for Duane Sterling will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at the Milestones Barn, 380 NW MO-13 Business, Warrensburg, MO 64093. Doors will open at 1pm for visiting with friends and family. The ceremony will begin at 2pm and followed by continued visiting and reminiscing until 4pm.