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Obituary for Duane Sterling

Dr. Duane Ray Sterling, 85, passed away on January 22, 2023, surrounded by his family. Duane leaves 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; and 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 boys’ basketball team in Fayette, Missouri. He then chose to enlist in the US 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 were married on April 20, 1962 and both received their Bachelor of Science in Education in May of that year. They moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where they received their Master of Science in Education from Louisiana State University. Duane went on to and completed his PhD. 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 the University of Central Missouri). He has spent time on the coaching staff of the Mules’ men’s basketball, tennis and golf teams. He then moved on to administrative roles including Assistant Vice President for Administrative Affairs, Assistant President and his final position as University Director of Planning, Government Services and Information. Duane ended his illustrious 32-year career at the university when he retired in 1997. Duane was a loyal community servant. He has attended and held leadership roles with the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce, WAFB Community Board, Missouri Boys State, American Legion, Warrensburg Missouri Sesquicentennial Committee, United Way, Warrensburg First Christian Church, and Jaycees. His love for the community was profound. In 1970, Duane joined the Rotary Club of Warrensburg and found a place where he could fulfill his passion for community and service. He was an active member for over 50 years and held leadership roles that included club president 1983-84, district Rotarian of the year 1985, district governor 1987-88, regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, Rotary Peace Symposium chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of The Rotary Foundation for Rotary International 1997-2003. After retiring from University, Duane followed his passion for organizing Rotary and accepted a full-time position as Chief Executive Officer of The Rotary Foundation for Rotary International. Duane and Pat moved to Evanston, Illinois, where he served at Rotary International headquarters. During his tenure, he made an impact on the world by helping to establish seven international peace centers with partner universities such as Duke, the University of North Carolina and the University of Bradford, England. Since their inception over 1500 students from around the world have completed a Master’s program or certificate in International Development Policy, Peacekeeping and Conflict Resolution. He has also continued the fight to eradicate polio through awareness and fundraising campaigns and bringing vaccines to remote areas of the world. His love for Rotary ran deep. After Duane’s second retirement, he and Pat moved back to their home in Warrensburg, where they enjoyed family and friends to the fullest. He enjoyed hanging out on family vacations he had planned, taking his sons and daughters on fishing trips, watching his nephew’s sporting and life events, fishing trips with his friends from “Good Ol’ Boy” high school, attend UCM events and celebrate with his family with games, laughter, stories and lots of love. He not only loved traveling the world, but he loved his daily trips to Starbucks. His kind and giving spirit allowed him to make extraordinary connections wherever he went in his life. His love for his family and friends ran deep. Duane’s life was guided by his faith in God, strong love for his family, and Rotary’s Four-Way Test. His love, loyalty, friendship and contributions to the community will be greatly missed. A Celebration of Life for Duane Sterling will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at Milestones Barn, 380 NW MO-13 Business, Warrensburg, MO 64093. Doors will open at 1 PM for visiting with friends and family. The ceremony will start at 2.00pm and will be followed by continuous visits and remembrances until 4.00pm. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial contributions in honor of Duane Sterling, at the Kansas City Hospice House, 12000 Wornall Rd., Kansas City, MO 64145. Contributions can be made online at kchospice.org/donation.

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