Sunday, October 3, 2004

Harold B. Sterneberg, 84, WWII Navy pilot

Great-grandfather was UC football quarterback

By Mary Lu Listermann
Enquirer staff writer

RYLAND HEIGHTS - Harold B. Sterneberg was a hands-on man who taught pilots to fly and children to use crank drills and other tools.

Mr. Sterneberg, 84, died Thursday at Highlands of Fort Thomas.

Mr. Sterneberg grew up in Norwood, graduating from high school in 1938 with a football scholarship to the University of Cincinnati. As an engineering student, he soon discovered that his class schedule interfered with football practice, said his son, John Sterneberg. So Mr. Sterneberg changed his major to education. The new schedule not only allowed him to remain a UC Bearcat quarterback, but also to play basketball as an "enforcer" on defense, his son said.

During World War II, Mr. Sterneberg joined the Navy as a pilot of a PBY Catalina airplane, which was used for air and sea rescue as well as enemy submarine searches. Using his skills as a pilot and teacher, Mr. Sterneberg was sent to Corpus Christi, Texas, to train pilots.

After the war, Mr. Sterneberg returned to work in the family-owned Bahrs Die and Stamping Company, in Cincinnati. He married to Mary I. Cortright, and they raised four children.

"I remember Dad taking me down to the basement of our house and giving me the hand drill. I was thrilled to help him. He cut a piece of wood for me to use. I drilled hole after hole after hole, working beside him," John Sterneberg said.

Mr. Sterneberg was an active community member and volunteer. He was a scoutmaster and a member of Action Ministries, Methodist Men, Ryland Heights Fire Board, and Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church.

"Dad and his friend would help the widows of the church or anyone who needed it, by making repairs around their homes. He told me that if he had known when he was working what fun he would have and how busy he would be, he would have retired much sooner," John Sterneberg said.

Along with his wife and son, other survivors include another son, Dr. Steven B. Sterneberg; two daughters, Sally A. Kunkel and Sue J. Dawkins; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church in Ryland Heights. A reception will follow the service at Ryland Lakes Country Club. Linnemann Funeral Home in Erlanger is handling arrangements.

Memorials may be made to Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church, 10283 Decoursey Pike, Ryland Heights, KY 41015 or Action Ministries, 8276 Decoursey Pike, Fairview, KY 41015.

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