Robert Harry “Bob” Sturdevant, 86, passed away Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at Cedar Ridge Health Campus.
Bob was born in March 1934 to Howard & Florence Sturdevant. Robert and his sisters (Amber & Bethel) were raised during the Depression in the hills of northern Pennsylvania, where his parents managed to keep food on the table- which was quite an accomplishment in those days. He went to school in Ulster and graduated from Athens High School. Robert attended Penn State University where he graduated (January 1957) with a degree in Agricultural Education and, as a member of ROTC, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant (in the United States Air Force).
Robert married Alethea Gillespie, who was on staff at PSU, in 1955 in Tollesboro, KY. His pilot training took him and Alethea to New Jersey, Florida, Texas and Louisiana. David was welcomed to the family in 1958 while they were in New Jersey; Cheryl in 1961 in Louisiana and Alison in 1971 in Illinois.
After college Robert was called to active duty and spent a year and a half as a radar controller before being accepted into pilot training. For the duration of his military career he flew KB-50 tankers, for refueling fighter aircraft across the South Pacific (Japan, Okinawa, Wake Island, Philippines, Guam, Iwo Jima, Australia, New Guinea, Formosa, Thailand, Vietnam).
After eight years in the Air Force and receiving the Able Aeronaut Award twice, Robert was discharged and employed by American Airlines for the next 29 years, eventually flying DC-10s as Captain R. H. Sturdevant, from the South Pacific to Europe.
During most of those 29 years Robert and Alethea raised their family on a 175-acre farm near Volo, Illinois just north of the Chicago sprawl as Robert was based at O’Hare. He loved agriculture and making things grow. Upon retirement, Robert and Alethea moved to Cynthiana, KY which became home for the next 25 years.
He was self-reliant; due to his training and experience, he could fix almost anything. He could build and remodel structures, wire a house, run the plumbing, weld a broken piece of farm machinery, perform all the maintenance on his vehicles, overhaul an engine and deal with the agricultural futures market related to his crops. On top of all that, even sewing, darning and embroidery were part of his skill set!
In retirement he was an active member of the Cynthiana Rotary Club and received the Paul Harris Fellow award. He enjoyed the camaraderie and serving his community.
Robert was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Alethea …affectionately called Coogan. Also preceding him in death were his two sisters Amber Sheibley and Bethel Nickles. He is survived by his three children: David (and Elisabeth) Sturdevant of Walpole, Maine; Cheryl (and Roger) Ellis of Wales, Wisconsin; Alison (and Randy) Miller of Keller, Texas; 7 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
A private family graveside service will be held for Robert at a later date in Maysville Cemetery. Robert was a follower of Jesus Christ, so we rejoice that he is currently in the presence of his Lord and Savior.
In his memory, and in appreciation of their dedication to and care for Robert, donations can be made to Bluegrass Hospice Care of Cynthiana (1317 US Highway 62 East, Cynthiana, KY 41031).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert Harry Sturdevant, please visit our floral store.
Bluegrass Hospice Care
1317 US Highway 62 East, Cynthiana KY 41031