September 21, 2023

John Ember Sterling

May 27, 1924 -

September 1, 2023

John Ember Sterling – Small town Colorado boy, patriot who became a military leader, devoted husband, loving father, man of faith.

John (Bud to his family) grew up in the rural town of Hugo on the plains of eastern Colorado. His grandparents were homesteaders and tenant farmers during the challenging years of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression. His father Ember was owner and publisher of the Hugo weekly newspaper, The Eastern Colorado Plainsman. His mother Agnes was the kind of strong, supportive wife and mother for which the central plains are so famous.

As a youth, Bud worked in his father’s print shop, augmenting his chores there with repairing railroad rack for 50 cents a day. He graduated from Hugo High School in 1942, having excelled in academics, athletics and playing the trumpet. When World War II broke out, he joined the Navy Reserve while attending the University of Colorado, receiving an appointment to West Point a year later. He graduated from West Point in 1946 as an officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers. He served a full 30-year career in the Army, with assignments in Korea, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam and numerous stateside posts, rising to the rank of Brigadier General before retiring in 1976 with many awards and decorations.

Early in his military career, Bud met Charlotte (Connie) Freund, an Army officer’s daughter living near his base. They married in 1950 and were blessed with four children: daughter Debbie, of Kriftel, Germany; son Jack of Colorado Springs, daughter Barb of Hugo, and daughter Jill, of Traverse City, Mich. Bud and Connie have eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren--four of whom live in Germany.

After retiring from the Army and a short stint with the Department of Labor, Bud and Connie in 1980 came to Monument, Colo. where they enjoyed skiing, golfing, and traveling to see grandchildren in Germany and across the US. In his spare time, he earned a law degree from the University of Denver, and was elected to serve on the board of the local water district. He was also active in the local Sertoma/Kiwanis Club, where he was the leader of the club’s marching kazoo band. A full life, but Bud always made time to be with his extended family for life’s important moments.

In addition to Connie, his loving wife of 73 years, and all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Bud leaves behind his sister Shirley McKeever of Longmont, Colo., and brothers Ken and Dwight Sterling, of Hugo and Monument.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the American Heart Association. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Sterling family.