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Carl's Story

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Carl Sturgeon, 98, of Washington, passed away peacefully on Jan. 25, at his home at The Legends.
Carl was born on Oct. 30, 1918. He was the fourth of seven children of Mabin and Catherine (Yarbrough) Sturgeon. His parents, sisters Eldena (Myers) and Camilla (Baumert); brothers Leslie, Robert, Joseph and Dallas Eugene all preceded him in death.
On Sept. 28, 1940, he married the late Eleanor Louise Jones. He was widowed on Oct. 6, 2013, after they celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary.
Carl and Eleanor had three daughters: Janice and husband Patrick Kopanski of Fairfax, Virginia; the late Kim Boyd of Powell, Ohio; and Amy and husband Michael Kelleher of Potomac, Maryland. He leaves seven grandchildren: Cathy Gress, Jason and wife Stephanie Blanco Gress; Matthew and wife Laura Walsh Boyd, Ann Boyd; Joseph and wife Jill Curtis Kelleher, Matthew and wife Jennifer Rowan Kelleher, and Katherine Kelleher. Five great-grandchildren as well: Brandon Sawyer, Eleanor and Seth Boyd; Benjamin Kelleher and Logan Gress.
Carl was hired by the B&O shortly before serving in the Army in World War II.
In the Army, he engaged in combat, excelled in the maintenance of the motor pool, and later supervised railway operations in France and Germany. Throughout this time, he played the fiddle and emceed for The Ranch House Boys, a band he formed that often played for the American Forces Network. At one point during that time, Mickey Rooney was featured with the band. Carl was discharged after World War II with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Upon his return from the war, Carl returned to the B&O for 41 years before retiring. His various positions included cost analyst, which required reporting to the offices in Baltimore; foreman and lastly, wreck master, where he was responsible for correcting all derailments for the areas served by the B&O between Cincinnati, Ohio and St. Louis, Missouri. While he was recognized for his innovations pertaining to everyday operations, he preferred working outdoors rather than in an office during his time with the B&O.
Carl was a lifelong member of the Central Christian Church, where he served as an elder. He taught Sunday school for decades, and loved leading the singing of hymns before class. He and Eleanor in their later lives held a prayer ministry in their home that lasted many years, where thousands came for solace and guidance, purely from the power of prayer.
He was also a lifelong member of the Washington Conservation Club, where for many years he organized and emceed the annual fishing derby for young people. He enjoyed mentoring young fishermen, including his grandchildren and sons-in-law, but most of all his nephew, Mark Sturgeon. He fished at lakes throughout the U.S. and Canada, and wrote numerous articles for many years for several publications. He developed instincts that made fishing practically a science. At one point post-retirement, Carl fished 365 days of the year.
Carl served in the community as PTA president, sold real estate for the Fred Fromme Agency and later for the Donaldson Agency along with his wife, Eleanor. He was a breeder for years of champion beagles that he trained as rabbit hunting dogs. Carl was a dedicated gardener who for decades planted so much more than his family could consume, can, freeze or pickle. Much was given away -- along with the many fish he caught.
Music, however, was a constant from his first band, formed when he was barely in his teens. His band and his fiddle led him to play for dances, radio programs including at WLS in Chicago, and ultimately to meet the pretty young girl he would marry, Eleanor Jones, who played string bass and sang. Carl played the fiddle until about three years ago, and played it marvelously. His daughters Kim and Amy were his homegrown accompanists. He played before and during the war, solo for school classes for his children and grandchildren, with his band for outdoor concerts and made ever so many nursing home appearances. While several musician friends went on to have professional careers in country music, Carl was content, and more than happy, to stay in Washington, Indiana.
His last two years were spent living at The Legends, where he received excellent care and enjoyed talking about fishing with the management and other residents.
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Poindexter-McClure Funeral Home, Washington Chapel. Visitation is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Published on February 12, 2017
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