1922 - 1983
To Go Doc"
of John's friends called him "Doc". He used the phrase
"Way to Go" to recognize and encourage his associates
John Sterrett was an accomplished scientist, philosopher,
professor, and humanitarian. Holding degrees from sixteen schools,
Dr. Sterrett was a member of four honorary fraternities, fifteen
professional societies and sixteen state and local organizations.
Dr. Sterrett's military career began as an officer
on a U.S. Navy destroyer. As a retired captain in the Navy Reserves,
he served as a scientific adviser in the Office of Naval Research
in Project Vanguard, one of the pioneering American rocket development
efforts. He worked on the U.S. Army Jupiter rocket program, and
used ENIAC, the world's first computer, at the Ballistics Research
Center at the Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. He served
as the chief mathematician in the Army Quartermaster Corps, as
a scientific adviser to the North American Aerospace Defense Command
(NORAD), and as the Director of the Air Force Aeroballistics Directorate.
Dr. Sterrett's civilian career included time with
NASA as a staff scientist for computers and celestial mechanics.
He worked with the famous rocket pioneer Werner von Braun and
served as a space sciences consultant for Systems Control, Inc.,
of Palo Alto, California. He also worked as a nuclear effects
consultant at both the Georgia Institute of Technology and Agbabian
Associates in Los Angeles.
Active in numerous humanitarian efforts, Dr. Sterrett
was a member of many nonprofit boards of directors for organizations
such as the Rocky Mountain Rehabilitation Center and Goodwill
Industries. He served as President of the Colorado State Association
for Retarded Citizens, the International Year of Disabled Persons
(1979), and the Coalition for Disabled People.
Dr. Sterrett was very active in the National Association
for Retired Federal Employees (NARFE). He served as the president
of the Colorado Association of NARFE for two years and was co-chairman
of the 1982 NARFE national convention in Denver, Colorado. In
1978, as president of the Colorado Association of NARFE, he met
with President Carter in the White House for a briefing concerning
domestic affairs and policy.
Described by friends and colleagues as "a
true evangelist for the space program," Dr. Sterrett was
a kind man, filled with humor and warmth. "John's unselfish
devotion to helping others was well known," wrote Colorado
Rep. Ken Kramer in 1983. Gerald Bliese, editor of the Senior Beacon,
instituted an annual "Senior Citizen of the Year" award
in his honor and wrote that Dr. Sterrett was a, "kindly man
with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile to brighten all situations.
. . . He served his country, his state, his city, his neighbors
-- you and me." The Health Association of the Pikes Peak
Region, which is located in the Dr. John K. Sterrett Building
in Colorado Springs, noted that same year that Dr. Sterrett "gave
freely of his time, his energy, his wisdom, and his humor. He
gave to each handicapped person and to countless others his boundless
supply of love and hope." Indeed, Dr. Sterrett tirelessly
worked for the betterment of people not only in his own community,
but also around the world.