Obituary for Steven Perry Sturm

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Steven Perry Sturm

September 29, 1948 - August 28, 2019

Steven Perry Sturm, age 70, went peacefully to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ on August 28, 2019, supported by his wife and best friend for the past 22 years, Laurel “Lori” Israel Sturm and children and their families: Jeffrey R. Sturm and Amy M. Sturm; Scott C. and Kate Chapman and Matthew L. and Michelle Chapman and grandchildren: Joshua and his wife Nadia Sturm, Ross, Macie and Kaylee Sturm, and Ellie, Price, Jackson, Carmen and Lewis Chapman. His parents W. Gene and Thelma Sturm of Bremen, Ohio and his wife of 28 years, Marilyn Kay Grimm Sturm and his sister Linda G. Sturm, predeceased him.  He is survived by his sisters, Michelle Tilley, Sandy Durnell, and John Sturm and their families.

Born in Lancaster Ohio, he grew up in Bremen, OH, a graduate of Fairfield Union High School. He initially attended Indiana Tech but then transferred to The Ohio State University in 1969, majoring in physics and engineering. Steve elected to join the U.S. Naval Air Wing.  Steve was a member of the A-7 Corsair II, Attack Squadron.  When Steve completed his tour in 1973, he began his career as a Scientist with Brun Sensor Systems to evaluate infrared spectroscopy to measure online paper properties.  Steve continued studies at universities, including Business Management at the University of Wisconsin.  Brun Sensor Systems was acquired by Industrial Nucleonics and the name was changed to AccuRay.  After a few years at AccuRay, Steve was promoted to Senior Staff Physicist.  In 1989, Steve was promoted to Principal Staff Physicist at AccuRay.  Soon, AccuRay was acquired by ABB.  In 1997, Steve was promoted to Director of Measurement Technology.

As Director, Steve focused on advanced measurement technology for the pulp and paper industry as well as for other industries making flat sheets, such as metal sheets. Steve and his team developed a large portfolio of patents.  One of the most successful patents was for a robust sensor with advanced optics employing infrared spectroscopy.  The stand-alone sensor measured components in a paper web and is known in the industry as Hemi-Plus.  Steve and his team patented a method for online measurement of synthetic binder in a fiber glass matte.  Furthermore, the team patented online sensors to measure areal weight of thermoplastics such as polyethylene, nylon, and other thermoplastic sheets.  The team also patented an online sensor that used radio frequency sensing paper moisture.  In addition, the team patented sensors that use combinations of microwaves and X-rays to identify mineral types found in paper webs.  The team also derived an online nuclear sensor Beta Gauge (STLK-11) that improved performance and was considerably safer compared to previous beta gauges.  Lastly, there was a patent to reduce measurement errors caused by web composition change, among others.

Steve retired after 42 years at ABB in 2015. Steve contributed to many ABB publications, including Online Color Measurement and Control Technology for Paper Makers.  Steve’s role evolved as ABB R&D moved to Ireland.  He collaborated to help scientists at ABB and enjoyed working with ABB’s clients.  Steve worked with those wanting to learn about measurements or engaged in the pulp and paper industry.  Steve presented at many conferences and symposiums about online metrology, including the TAPPI forums to present a method to measure the thin organic films on metallic sheets and a method for online measurement of polymer fraction in paper webs, among others over the years.

Steve also was on panels at many universities and colleges, including Miami University and its Pulp and Paper Industry Technology Conferences. More recently, Steve was a primary contributor to produce a handbook for TAPPI PRESS.  The handbook title is “Paper Machine Quality Control Systems (QCS)”.  Furthermore, Steve helped reproduce the handbook in the form of an e-book that engineers use.  Steve was honored to be selected by TAPPI in 2014 and received the Process Control Division’s Technical Award in recognition of his work and contribution to the paper industry over the past 40+ years.

Most importantly, he was a man of few words but was instrumental in helping start a church, leading Bible studies. He also was a continuous learner and loved poetry, especially by Burns and could recite much of Shakespeare.  He also enjoyed tennis, golf and biking and was known to be on hole no 6 at the Memorial Golf Tournament.  He loved a glass of wine and had a wonderful dry sense of humor.  Unfortunately, in his later years, he fell ill to Alzheimer’s.

The family wishes to thank Ohio Health Hospice and Kobacker House and his many caregivers and medical team, Including Dr. Douglas Scharre, professor of clinical neurology and psychiatry at OSU.

For more details and online condolences:

For those who wish to remember Steve, in lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association for research to hopefully find a cure. Please feel free to join or sponsor his daughter Amy who is walking on September 22, 2019 to end Alzheimer’s. http://ACT.ALZ.ORG and click on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s to search for Amy Sturm “Daddy’s Girl” (Columbus Ohio) or visit her link directly at:

There will be a private family burial and celebration of life.


There will be a private family burial and celebration of life.

Mike McNelis posted on February 17, 2020

I have a few very clear memories of Steve or S2 (Steve Squared) as I called him. The dry humor... the comment... out of the blue... unexpected. It was piercing. We had a Customer Visit to our factory in Ireland. It was very senior executives from Kimberly Clark. I remember the moment that Steve walked into the room. The customers could barely conceal their excitement and appreciation that he was there. What ensued was a discussion on sensors and physics... far beyond my limited understanding. They literally hung on his every word. They saw they had a chance to beat their competitors by utilizing Steve’s future vision... what will happen in 5 years time... whats technically possible... he was the ‘sage’. They were literally agog. This was leading edge stuff...working at the frontier. Such an intellect that had the capability to connect at every level. I remember he also used to buy a wine which was branded S2 Take Care S2 M2M

Michael Kerley posted on September 10, 2019

On behalf of everyone in ABB Ireland we would like to offer our condolences to you Lori, and family, on the passing of our friend and colleague Steve. May he rest in peace.

Kerry Figiel posted on September 6, 2019

I wish to express my sincere condolences to Steve’s family. As a customer of ABB, I had many occasions to talk with Steve about his sensors and how to best use them in the paper industry. I was amazed at his knowledge, dedication and his grasp of details. I recall lengthy meetings where he explained coat weight sensors, same spot scanning and other topics to me. I had the privilege of working with him on the development of the “Paper Machine Quality Control Systems (QCS)” handbook. He was quite a driving force who wrote more than anyone else and without him, it may not have been completed. He was so deserving of the Process Control Division Technical Award that he received. I will miss him.

kathryn wisne posted on September 5, 2019

My deepest sympathy to you, Lori; and to Steve's family on the death of this dear husband and father. Lori, I know that you have labored with Steve through his illness but , now, It is the sweetest promise of Jesus that Steve is safe and at peace . May you all find comfort in the days ahead. Kathryn Wisne

Paddy Lawless posted on September 5, 2019

So sad to hear of the passing of Steve. He was such a brilliant engineer/scientist and was an institution with AccuRay/ABB. The world has lost a brilliant mind.

Dave Biros posted on September 3, 2019

The Biros family wishes to express our sorrow at Steve’s passing, and our sympathy to Lori and others in Steve’s family. Steve’s many contributions to the AccuRay and ABB businesses provided many people with valuable things to deliver to customers, and in turn provided those people with the ability to earn a living and provide for their families. Our family is one such family. We are grateful for his impact.

Matt Hall posted on September 2, 2019

My deepest sympathy to Jeff and the entire family.

Wendy Hamilton posted on September 1, 2019

So incredibly sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. I know his legacy will live on through his family and all those who loves him. I am grateful he will spend eternity with Jesus with a healthy mind and body. Many prayers for the family as you navigate this difficult time. Ken and Wendy Hamilton

Ake Hellstrom posted on September 1, 2019

With sting in my heart, I got the news Steve passed away. Steve was was a superior scientist and good friend. But now gone from this Earth . I am sure however, that Steve went up to that big white laboratory in Heaven he dreamed about. Where he now is explaining for S:t Peter the deep science of measuring paper. Like no one ever did did before, and no one will be able to do later. May I say our humble condolences to Lori . You have been so good for Steve.

Ted Johnston posted on September 1, 2019

So sorry to here Steve lost his battle. Thoughts and prayers are with y'all.

Fred T Murphy posted on September 1, 2019

I worked with Steve on many projects and systems. I helped install the firs IR Transmission gage, Two IR Reflection, offset by 1 !/2 inches. over the next 31 years I continued to work with him. It was always a joy. We talked about many things in his life. His Joy was in his family. He had a truly wonderful mind, inventive and always thinking outside the box. The sixth hole was the home of the Sturminator. My wife did the bus routing for Dublin School system. She had a different challenge every day, during the Tournament. I will always remember him sitting at the table, during lunch. Quiet and humble, he could make a statue laugh when he chose to comment. I wrote this poem When Regen passed: Because I Do Not Know Any Other Way Because I do not know any other way Who can understand the pain? Who can wish for things to be the same? Who can understand as a loved one takes a lonely walk A walk into the quiet night You live for a smile A squeeze of your hand Some small sign that let you know they understand You are with them As you have been Each day is a trial Who can understand what its like? Except someone who has done the same Will there be a moment when I can say goodbye Will he/she know if I am there? Why sit day by day as life and mind slips away Watching the decent to total isolation Oblivious to all that was a life boldly lived Because it is my Father My Mother My Sister My Brother My Spouse For love of them I sit hour by hour To bring what comfort I can Until they walk straight, firm and unbent in the sight of God. Fred T. Murphy Copyright 06/07/2004 Revised June 14,2004 I choose to remember Steve sitting at the table, Huge smile on his face, AccuRay Coffee cup in hand, Fred T. Murphy

darwin posted on September 1, 2019

so sorry,,,,,but he is in a much better place than we are darwin

Charlotte VanMeter Bigham posted on August 31, 2019

Sincere condolences to Steve’s family. He was a great guy. I will treasure memories of him.

Wye Huxford posted on August 31, 2019

Jeff, our prayers are with you Andy our family. Blessings to you all, Wye Huxford

Kirk Knotts posted on August 31, 2019

Quite the life for a man of few words but outstanding actions! I am honored to be the friend of his son Jeff and greatly admire this family. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Shirley Morgan Read posted on August 30, 2019

I will always remember him fondly. Much love to you.

J Jay Johnson posted on August 30, 2019

I will miss Steve greatly. He was a large part of my career and mentor for many years. (25 plus) Jay Johnson

Melanie Morris posted on August 30, 2019

Peace be with you and your family, Jeff.

Donna Yarbrough posted on August 30, 2019

To Jeff and Amy and all the family you have my deepest sympathy may God comfort you all in this time of a dear loss. I think of how great for Steve that now he is free from Alzheimer's and now he's with his first love Marilyn walking the streets of gold

Gary Burk posted on August 29, 2019

Steve was my friend and colleague all the way back from Brun Sensor System days; an inspirational man.


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