Posted: Feb 12, 2020
Funeral Home: Leavitt Funeral Home, Parkersburg
Dr. Philip Wayne Sturm (Phil), a native of Parkersburg, died unexpectedly in Camden Clark Medical Center on February 9, 2020 in Parkersburg, WV at the age of 77.
Phil is preceded in death by and his loving wife of 51 years, Annette Tucker Sturm and parents Okey and Ruth Sturm along with a great nephew Christopher Wayne Heater. He is survived by his three daughters: Melanie (Russ) Valentine of Cambridge, OH, Leslie (Brian) Rollings of Tyler, TX and Betsy (Anthony) Thornabar of Parkersburg, WV along with seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren and three siblings: Pat Michaels of Parkersburg, Judy (Cliff) Adams of Reedsville, OH and Dwight (Carolyn) Sturm of Washington, WV along with many beloved nieces, nephews and extended family.
He was born on January 6, 1943 in Parkersburg, WV. to Okey Woodrow and Ruth Geraldine (Smith-Jones) Sturm. He graduated from Ohio Valley College (now University), Harding University and West Virginia University with a Ph. D in US History and Appalachian Studies. In 1962, Sturm graduated with the first class of Ohio Valley College (now University) with an A.A. degree in liberal studies. He holds the B.A. degree in U.S. history from Harding University, Searcy, Arkansas, the M.A. in U.S. history from West Virginia University, Morgantown, and the Ph.D. in U.S. history and Appalachian studies, also from WVU. He is Professor Emeritus of history and social studies at Ohio Valley University and formerly chaired the Humanities Division at OVU, and is in his 51st year of teaching. He also taught briefly at the University of New Orleans and Loyola University of the South in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Sturm was a James Still Fellow at the University of Kentucky in 1987 and held a full-time John B. Stephenson Fellowship from the Appalachian College Association at WVU in 1999. In 2000, he was chosen by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia as the West Virginia Professor of the Year. In 2019, he was recognized by the West Virginia legislature as a WV History Hero.
Dr. Sturm has written five books and a number of articles based on regional history, including Dreams and Visions: A Silver Anniversary History of Ohio Valley College; The Dream Realized: The Golden Anniversary of Ohio Valley University; A River to Cross: The Bicentennial History of Wood County, West Virginia; Wood County Reflections: A Pictorial History; and Kinship Migration to Northwestern Virginia, 1785-1815: The Myth of the Southern Frontiersman and was currently writing the history of Belleville, WV.
He has served as president of both the Parkersburg Bicentennial Commission (1983-84), the Wood County Bicentennial Commission (1998-99), Commissioner and member of Fort Boreman Historic Park for the Preservation Development Initiative of the Greater Parkersburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. He has previously served on the Artsbridge Board of Directors and was vice president of the West Virginia Historical Association in 1991-92. He was a Member of the Sons of the American Revolution and an Honorary Member, Centennial Chapter, Daughters of the American Pioneers.
Dr. Sturm was an active and dedicated member at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church and past member of area Churches of Christ in the Ohio Valley. Phil was witty, as evidenced by his famous “Red Ball” quizzes, and a generous and dedicated individual who was passionate about changing the world and educating students, family and friends.
A celebration of Phil’s life is scheduled Saturday February 15th from 1pm until 3pm at Ohio Valley University Chapel with a memorial service to begin at 3pm. All are welcome to attend and celebrate.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Ohio Valley University, Parkersburg, WV.
Leavitt Funeral Home,Parkersburg is assisting the family with arrangements.
Online guests may send condolences to the family by visiting www.LeavittFuneralHome.com.