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Lt. Col. Fred  W.  Sternenberg, Jr., USAF Retired

Obituary for Lt. Col. Fred W. Sternenberg, Jr., USAF Retired

January 6, 1932 - February 5, 2018
Ausstin, Texas | Age 86


Fred W. Sternenberg, Jr., Lt. Col., USAF Retired
January 6, 1932 – February 5, 2018

Fred W. Sternenberg, died peacefully with beloved family members surrounding him early Monday, February 5. He was blessed by a long healthy, well-lived life, and will be greatly missed.

Fred was born January 6, 1932 in Lockhart, TX to Frederick W. Sternenberg and Mary Williams Sternenberg. Upon graduation from Lockhart High School, he attended The University of Texas' McCombs School of Business, where he graduated and accepted his commission from the ROTC as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. He married Kathleen Adair Pluecker in March of 1953 and five children were born into this loving family.

Fred had a great interest in aviation at a very young age. His dream of becoming a pilot came true after completing pilot training and he flew many different aircraft including B-25's, B-29's, and KC-135's. He flew re-fueling missions worldwide supporting Air Force objectives and protecting our freedom during many long weeks spent on alert, temporary duty assignments and later in combat over Southeast Asia. He was promoted to Major and led the first AC-119K Gunship Squadron to Da Nang during the Vietnam War. He scheduled himself to fly the toughest night-time missions and always put his crew and their accomplishments first. Returning Stateside in 1971 to Bellevue, NE, Fred was assigned to Offutt AFB at the Strategic Air Command Operations Plans Missile Electronic Warfare Branch. While there as a Command Pilot he was privileged to fly the Looking Glass - the Airborne Command Post which backed up the command and control operations of the Department of Defense and Air Force Strategic Air Command. During his 26 year Air Force career Fred earned The Bronze Star, The Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, The Air Medal with ten Oak Leaf Clusters and The Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding performance, extraordinary service and heroism. He was a member of the AC-119 Gunship Association, Air Force Association, and Daedalians fraternity of military aviators.

After moving to Bellevue Fred and Jan met and were married in July of 1973, becoming a blended family of nine. Fred retired from the Air Force in June of 1977 and they moved to Austin, where he continued his aviation pursuits, teaching and mentoring students at Ragsdale Aviation and later flying chartered private aircraft for many clients until age 65.

Fred was a very encouraging, attentive father and "Dad" to his blended family. As the children grew into adulthood, marrying, and having children of their own, he would keep close track of their travels, always concerned for their safety and welcoming their return home. Fred was a devoted husband and shared with Jan 44 years of good life. He was a loving master of the family dogs. It has been said, on occasion, by family members, that anyone would be lucky to live an afterlife as his dog.

Fred and Jan were confirmed in December of 1978 at St. Luke's on the Lake Episcopal Church where they have served actively in many ministries over 40-plus years. Once again, Fred was a faithful servant, enjoying the opportunity to be of service repairing, restoring, planning for new growth, and expanding the campus at St. Luke's. He served on the Vestry as Junior Warden for nine years, and was Senior Warden to The Rev. R. A. Timberlake. He will be missed greatly by his longtime friends in The Men of St. Luke's (MOSL) and the Lay Ministry.

Fred was predeceased by his mother and father. He is survived by his wife, Jan; sons: Fred W. III (Therese), Thomas (Rebecca), Mark; daughters: Sherry (Gary), Kay (David), Mary Clare (Dennis), Julie (Fred); grandchildren: Bill (Melissa), Robbie, Katy (Derek), Katie (Dan), Thomas, Remley, Phillip (Kendra), Melissa (Shawn); nine great grandchildren, his sister, Ada Marie Webster; sister-in-law, Caroline, and many nieces and nephews.

The family is grateful to Texas Oncology, Dr. Daren M. Kocs and staff; St. David's Round Rock Hospital, Dr. T. P. Robins and staff; Austin Hospice nurses and staff, and Home Health therapists.

Memorial service will be at St. Luke's on the Lake Episcopal Church, 5600 Ranch Road 620 North, Austin, TX 78732, on Feb. 24, 2018, at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Luke's on the Lake, Hospice Austin or a charity of your choice.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Luke's on the Lake, Hospice Austin or a charity of your choice.

Arrangements By

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home Lake Travis

411 Ranch Rd. 620 S.
Lakeway, TX 78734
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