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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Curtis R. Stearley

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Curtis R. Stearley, 89, Belton, Mo., and formerly of Clay County, died Dec. 22, 2009, at his residence following an extended illness.

He was born March 27, 1920, to Harold E. and Eva (Ringo) Stearley.

"Curt" attended Brazil High School, graduating in 1940 as a member of the National Honor Society (his graduation delayed due to a fight with tuberculous). As a member of the marching high school band for three years, Curt participated in many parades over the years.

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 1941, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a Private. Pay then was $21 a month with $6 taken out for $10,000 of life insurance. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1943, after graduating from Officers Candidate School in Miami Beach, Fla. Between 1943 and 1945, he served as a tactical officer training fighter pilots at Moore Airfield near Mission, Texas. His first overseas tour was at Hickam Airfield, Hawaii (1945-47), before Hawaii had become a state.

During his Pentagon assignment (which coincided with the Korean War years, 1950-53), Major Stearley married Betty McPeck, who was secretary to the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Maxwell Taylor. Gen. Taylor was commander of the 82nd Air Borne Division during the victories in the war against the Germans in France, 1944-45. Betty also accomplished a 30-year career of Government service. During his Pentagon years, he earned a B.A. Degree in Business Administration from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1955.

His final tour of duty overseas was in Ramstein, Germany (1955-57), and at the time of his retirement from the USAF, then an independent branch of the military, in 1962, he had achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel. He is a lifetime member of the V.F.W. and the American Legion, and he was a nephew to Maj. Gen. Ralph F. Stearley, USAF (RET).

He enjoyed reading and studying American Literature and History and listening to his collection of music of the Big Band era (1930-55), from his many records -- 78s, 45s, and 33 1/3 RPMs.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Maxine Hendrickson and husband Harry, brother Lincoln Stearley and wife Ann, and brother-in-law Alva Schepper, husband to his sister, Nadine.

Survivors include his wife Betty of 57 years, Belton, Mo., sons and their families Ralph Stearley with wife Gloria, Curt Stearley with wife Sally and Harold Stearley with wife Beveraly, grandchildren Samuel, Ursula, Jane, Kate and Laura, great-grandson Brody Olson, sister Nadine Schepper, brothers Gary Stearley and Larry Stearley with wife Nancy, nieces Jeanine Peterson, Annette Hoopingarner, Jeanette Vaughan, Karen Henderson, Sally Jackson, Amy May, Jennifer Hartman and Heather Ledford, and nephews Rick Hendrickson and David Stearley.

Services will be at Lawson-Miller Chapel, Brazil, Dec. 31, 2009, at 1 p.m., with Pastor Tony Alstott officiating. Burial will follow at Summit Lawn Cemetery. Visitation will be at the funeral home, Thursday, from 11 a.m. until time of services.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, for restoration and preservation of Indiana's State Parks.

Visit www.lawson-millerchapel.com to light a candle in his memory.