October 1929 – July 12, 2019
Stanley G. Sturges ’55 was born in October 1929 in the then Belgian Congo and died July 12, 2019, in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Dr. Sturges achieved national recognition as an athlete and as a pioneering physician in Nepal. He is best known for creating, with the assistance of his wife, Raylene Duncan Sturges, RN, the Scheer Memorial Hospital in Banepa, Nepal. Funds for construction were gifted by Clifford Scheer, a construction consultant of Springfield, New Jersey, in the name of his parents, Carolyn and Charles Scheer. The hospital was envisioned, designed, and in large measure built by Dr. Sturges. Today, a 120-bed medical center stands as a testament to the passionate mission of Dr. and Mrs. Sturges and includes a college of nursing, offering master’s programs in a variety of nursing specialties.
Dr. Sturges’ leadership and involvement in public medical service came naturally. He was born in Africa to Violet and J. Hubert Sturges, MD. Serving as Adventist missionaries was a tradition in the Sturges family. Dr. Stanley Sturges’ older brother Hubert F. Sturges ’52, his sister Elizabeth Taylor, his younger brother Keith W. Sturges ’59, who followed him to Nepal and Scheer Memorial Hospital, and his brother-in-law, Leslie A. Smart ’54, were all called to medical missionary service. (Dr. Sturges also had another brother, Glenn.) His parents insisted that young Stanley prepare himself for service by learning various trades during the summer months between school sessions. He was later grateful for these skills when designing and constructing his family’s home in Nepal and later the mission hospital.
After graduating from Pacific Union College in 1951, Dr. Sturges entered medical school at the College of Medical Evangelists. There his colleagues let off steam and frustration on the volleyball court. By their senior year, his group of medical school classmates had developed an extremely competitive volleyball team that achieved remarkable success. In 1955, they advanced to the NCAA national championship finals against Florida State. Their success included the nomination of two members, including Dr. Sturges, as All-American athletes.
Unexpected success and recognition came rapidly to Dr. Sturges. In 1961, he was selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce. He met President Nixon, and he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. Dr. Sturges and Raylene documented their experiences in the book “In the Valley of Seven Cities,” written by Dr. Sturges. It is a chronicle of the contributions of Dr. Sturges and his wife to the health of 500,000 residents of the valley they touched with compassionate and modern medical care. When Dr. Sturges and Raylene were honored by Pacific Union College, Raylene made this statement of their philosophy: “Don’t forget that the unbathed person in front of you may become your best friend.”
Upon returning from mission service, Dr. Sturges completed a psychiatric residency at Mayo Clinic. He initiated a successful psychiatric program at Kettering Medical Center in Ohio. He later practiced and led psychiatric programs in Portland and Astoria, Oregon. In retirement, Dr. Sturges pursued an interest in parliamentary procedure and was parliamentarian for the Oregon State Medical Society. He became a well-informed amateur geologist and created a collection of beautiful rocks. He was also a trombone and tuba musician with the Sunnyside Up Brass group.
After the death of Raylene in 2018, Dr. Sturges lived in a Portland retirement facility, where he developed new friendships and continued to nourish relationships with his five children. He had two daughters, Cheri (Greg) Holly and Charlene; three sons, Stan (Lydia Chu), James (Leticia), and Mark (Carolyn); 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
In Nepal, the Sturgeses insisted that all patients be treated equally, regardless of the prevalent caste system. One of their devoted helpers was Kanchha, a member of the vaidya caste, whom Dr. Sturges treated successfully for tuberculosis. Kanchha once expressed to Dr. Sturges his hope that when he died, his fellow villagers would say of him, “There died an honest man, devoted to duty.” Dr. Sturges was touched by this statement, saying he could only hope that his own sense of destiny was as strong as that of Kanchha.
Stanley G. Sturges died an honest man, devoted to duty, to his family, and to God.
(Source: Family of Dr. Sturges)