The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Daily Item Obituaries

July 7, 2014

Margie J. Sturm, 87, Lewisburg

— LEWISBURG — Margie Jean (Anderson) Sturm, 87, of 418 S. 22nd St., passed away at 10:13 p.m. Monday, July 7, 2014, at RiverWoods, Lewisburg, following a long bout with dementia.

She was born Feb. 28, 1927, in rural poverty in Neosho, Mo., the seventh and last child of the late Charles Milton and Georgene (Wilson) Anderson. During those 87 years, her life was dedicated primarily to enhance the lot of the human community.

Margie’s formal education began in a one-room school house. Subsequently she graduated from an unaccredited school for deaconesses (National College) in Kansas City, and, for a brief time, served as director of religious education in a Methodist Church. Later, after she married Douglas Sturm in 1953, she entered into graduate studies at the University of Chicago from which she received a master’s degree in religion and literature.

Throughout her adult years, Margie was active in community affairs. She joined the League of Women Voters in Chicago, continuing that association when she moved to Lewisburg. Along with her husband, she was part of the Democratic Federation of Illinois, a progressive caucus in the Democratic Party, and engaged in ward work for the Party itself. For a brief time in New York City, she was a community organizer for the East Harlem Protestant Parish and a volunteer in the offices of the World Council of Churches.

During Margie’s five-plus decades living in Lewisburg, she worked in varying ways, often in  a leadership capacity, in multiple community associations, including parent-teacher groups; the public library; Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition; Social Concerns Committee (Beaver Memorial United Methodist Church); Susquehanna Association for the Arts; Related Arts Committees (Lewisburg Area School District); Democratic Women of Buffalo Valley; Union County Democratic Committee.

In her professional life during her earlier years, she occupied several positions, e.g., assistant town manager (Neosho); personal administrative secretary for the president of National College (Kansas City); personal administrative secretary for an oncologist in the University of Chicago Hospital System; assistant to the Head of the Meetings Department of the American Bar Association (Chicago).

Once Margie’s children, Hans and Rolf, were in middle school, she responded to a calling to join the teaching profession. Following certification, she served as an English teacher in the Lewisburg Area School System for 20 years (1973-1993). In that capacity, while she attended to the mechanics of writing, her dominant focus was to demonstrate how literature might bring students face to face with the great questions of life: good and evil, life and death, meaning and despair.

In that connection she introduced significant innovations in the English curriculum. She inserted a section on holocaust literature in a World Literature course. In American Literature, she began the course with oral traditions among indigenous peoples throughout the continent and writings from the time of the Spanish Conquest. She created and taught the initial Advanced Placement Course in the Lewisburg schools under the topic, “Search for Meaning,” directing students in a rigorous study of major literary works from Aeschylus to Toni Morrison. Overall, she enriched the entire curriculum by including women and minority authors.

On her 75th birthday, Margie received a flurry of letters from an impressive array of her former students, all testifying to the importance and effectiveness of her teaching in their lives.

In the midst of her many community and professional activities, Margie was also committed to family and friends. Given her deep appreciation for the arts, she followed the careers of her sons, both of whom are professional musicians, and their respective partners with intense interest. Hans’ wife, Jackie Allen, is a celebrated jazz singer and Rolf’s partner, Leese Walker, directs the innovative theatrical troupe, The Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble.

Across all these activities of her life, Margie’s presence has been marked with a warm personality, a probing mind, and a generous spirit.  Her sons and husband, dedicating the recent renovation of the children’s resource area in the Public Library of Union County in her honor, depicted her as “teacher, community activist, wife and mother—committed in all things to Truth, Justice, and Beauty.”

Besides her sons, Margie is survived by a grandson, Wolfgang, son of Hans and Jackie, and an older brother, Don, of Peoria, Ariz.  

Margie has donated her body for use in medical research through the Humanity Gifts Registry of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A service celebrating both her life and Douglas’ life will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Rooke Chapel on the Bucknell University campus.

The family is being assisted by Cronrath-Grenoble Funeral Home, South Second and St. Louis streets, Lewisburg.

Expressions of sympathy may be shared at


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The Daily Marquee
Funeral Arrangements
  • Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    BOWERSOX, CHAD D., 37, of Watsontown. Life celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Washingtonville Fire Hall, 19 Strawberry Ridge Road, Danville.

    CLARK, MICHAEL K., 67, of Sunbury. Visitation from 1 to 2 p.m. today at Jerre Wirt Blank Funeral Home, 395 State St., Sunbury, followed by funeral at 2. Burial in Northumberland Memorial Park, Stonington.

    DINSMORE, ELEANORE F., 83, of Selinsgrove. Celebration of life at 2 p.m. Saturday at Sharon Lutheran Church, 120 S. Market St., Selinsgrove. V.L. Seebold Funeral Home, Selinsgrove.

    HALL, ROBERT I., 102, of Watsontown. Visitation from 11 a.m. to noon today at Brooks Funeral Home, 124 Main St., Watsontown, followed by funeral at 12:15. Burial in Green Lawn Memorial Park, Montgomery.

    KARCHNER, RUTH M., 94, of Wake Forest, N.C. Visitation from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday at Visneski Funeral Home, 10 W Mahoning St., Danville, followed by funeral at 2. Burial in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Danville.

    KEEFER, NED E., 89, of Lewisburg. Visitation from 10 to 11 a.m. today at Shaw Funeral Home, 400 N. Front St., Milton, followed by funeral at 11. Burial in Highland Cemetery, New Columbia.

    RESSLER, GALE L., 63, of Sunbury. Visitation from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Jerre Wirt Blank Funeral Home, 395 State St., Sunbury, followed by a memorial service at 8.

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