Philip C. Stertz, 88, passed away peacefully in his sleep Feb. 22, 2018, at WeI-life in Kalispell.
He was born Dec. 9, 1929, in Hastings, Nebraska, to Carl F. Stertz and his wife Marjorie. Soon after his graduation from high school, the family moved to Omaha, Nebraska.
Phil enlisted with the Navy and served during the Korean War. While he never saw any action, he always said it had been a great life experience and made him a better man. After his discharge and returning home, he met Mary Ann Potter of Omaha, and they were wed in the fall of 1951.
Phil had a number of artistic talents, sketching, painting, carving small figures from wood and even a little bit of metal working, which he used to make a flying pig copper weather vein. He was also a very skilled carpenter. He built his family’s first house, a cute little pink thing in Omaha where the growing family lived until 1968.
From this little pink house in Omaha, Phil went on the road to work on various projects across the country and Canada. In Langdon, North Dakota, he worked on the missile silos as well as the silos in Conrad, Montana, but that job was short-lived, so off to Fairfax, Virginia, he went to work on the D.C. Metro system. With the system complete, his next journey took him to Mica Creek in British Columbia, to work on a hydroelectric dam on the Columbia River.
Phil and Mary Ann took a vacation to the Flathead area, and decided that this little town called Kalispell would be just the right place to retire, and they did so in 1976. Phil wasn’t quite ready to call it quits and retire, so he found work with Matlich Construction and then a little later with Stewart and James. He had one last cross country job in New York to work on another dam before he finally decided to give up the construction gig and live the retired life of fishing, reading, wood whittling, boating and napping. He was a hard worker, who did his best and lived life to the fullest of his potential.
Phil was preceded in death by both parents, his sister Kay Cano, his loving wife Mary Ann, and son-in-law Dale Howell.
He is survived by son, Steve Stertz, and wife Susie, of Meridian, Idaho; son, Mike Stertz, and wife Karen, of Longmont, Colorado; daughter, Becky Bellinger, and son-in-law Dick, of Pueblo, Colorado; and daughter, Sueann Howell, of Kalispell; his grandchildren, Raina Howell Wanless and husband Ryan of Kalispell, Elizabeth Howell St. Marie and husband Latigo of Kalispell, Matthew Stertz and wife Sarah of Denver, Kelley Stertz of Seattle, and Sarah Bellinger of Pueblo; and two great-grandchildren whom he absolutely cherished and adored, Julian and Saylor St. Marie.
A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Johnson and Gloschat Funeral Home.
The family would like to thank all the people at the Wel-life community who helped to care for him.