Robert Dean “Bob” Sterken

November 15, 1947 ‒ August 11, 2015

Mansfield, Ohio

MANSFIELD: Robert Dean Sterken, age 67, passed away Tuesday morning, August 11, 2015, in Winchester Terrace Nursing Home in Mansfield.

Bob was born November 15, 1947, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to parents Gerrit Jan & Marguerite (Wiersma) Sterken. He was graduated from Kentwood High School with the class of 1965. Bob married Jane Ann Jay on September 12, 1970, at Oakdale United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Bob went to Hope College in Holland, Michigan, but left to join the U.S. Army. He was trained as a medic and spent two tours of duty in Vietnam with Med Evac units. Upon leaving the Army, Bob attended Michigan State University where he graduated with honors. He worked as a research engineer at Therm-O-Disc in Mansfield for many years.

Bob had been a member of Main St. United Methodist Church since he and Jane moved to Mansfield in 1986. They did most things together, from teaching Sunday school, to being small group leaders. They were among the founders of Blue Rose Mission and Love In the Name of Christ of Greater Mansfield. In 2011, he and Jane went on a mission trip to Camphor Mission Station in Liberia, West Africa. Bob took 40 water filtration kits that were purchased through donations, and he showed the traditional birth attendants how to use them. One Liberian pastor referred to Bob as “the Bucket Man.”

Bob enjoyed being one of the men who painted Arlin Field before each Mansfield Senior High home football game, and setting off the cannon when the team scored. Bob videotaped for the high school football team and did the visuals for the basketball scoreboard. Bob also coached soccer, football, and baseball for his sons’ teams. Bob enjoyed working with Boy Scout Troop 152 while his sons were involved and going with them to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Bob was inducted into the Order of the Arrow honor scouting society, of which he was very proud. Bob was an avid science fiction reader and in recent years he enjoyed painting and taking ceramics classes at the Mansfield Art Center.

He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years Jane Sterken of Mansfield; two sons and daughters-in-law: Todd & Cara Sterken of Pettisville and Scott & Alaina Sterken of Mansfield; five grandchildren: Sophie, Caroline, and Gerritt Sterken all of Pettisville and Jael and Silas Sterken of Mansfield.

In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his brother Gordon.

His family will receive friends 4-7 p.m. Thursday, August 13, 2015, in the Finefrock Chapel of Snyder Funeral Home, 350 Marion Avenue. A memorial service honoring his life will be held 11 a.m. Friday, August 14, 2015, in Main St. United Methodist Church (230 S Main St. in Mansfield). The Rev. Dr. DeWayne Smith, Pastor Sid Ramey, and The Rev. Doug Lewis will officiate and military honors at the church will be performed by the Richland County Joint Veterans Burial Detail. A private burial will be held in Mansfield Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory to: Love In the Name of Christ of Greater Mansfield; the Camphor Mission Clinic Endowment Fund; or the Main St. United Methodist Church Food Pantry may be made at his services or sent to the funeral home (P.O. Box 3085, Mansfield, Ohio 44904).

Snyder Funeral Homes is honored to serve Bob’s family and encourage you to share a fond memory or message of condolence to them—and watch his tribute video—at

  • I am so sorry for your loss, my dear Jane and family. The pain of losing a loved one is so very difficult. I know a piece of your heart went with Bob. He was so kind and so knowledgeable about so many things. I always enjoyed talking to him. I know we will see him again soon=) Lots of love and prayers, Michele Meckes

  • Bob was a kind and faithful person, who was a servant leader at Main Street UMC. He was a man of honor, who loved his family and God. Sending you and your family love and prayers during this difficult time. Psalm 91. He will be deeply missed.

    Marsha Morrow

  • Mrs. Sterken, Todd, and Scott – I am very sorry for your loss and I am keeping you and your family in my prayers. Growing up with Scott, I had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Sterken and know how much he loved his family. I know he was a kind person and would do anything for anyone.

    Thoughts and prayers,
    Mathew Wade

  • Our brother Bob will surely be missed here on earth.
    He is a great man of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and he is undoubtedly one of the many that it can be said “Well done good and faithful servant”.
    I am sorry for your loss of your husband, father, and grandfather.
    You are all in our prayers.

    God bless,

  • Jane, Todd, Scott and Family, I am so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. I have such fond memories of all of you. Working the concession stand at Malabar was always so much fun with the Sterkens! My heart is heavy and my prayers for God’s comfort are with you. Hugs, Cathy Hansen

  • To the Sterken family,

    So sorry for your loss. Bob was always a strong supporter in what we did at Mansfield Senior. I wish I could have been there to celebrate his life achievements with you guys.
    Love always.