TRAVERSE CITY — John left this world peacefully Nov. 5, 2012, after an amazing lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis. At 45 years old, John's remarkable strength, determination and optimistic outlook on life proved most valuable as he won round after round with this aggressive childhood disease, which was expected to end his life decades ago.
Against all odds John graduated in 1985 from Traverse City High School with high honors. He then went on to study electronic engineering at DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix, Ariz. Despite suffering a near fatal motorcycle accident during his last year of school, he still graduated in the top of his class.
John diligently pursued his chosen career and was a valuable asset and skilled engineer employed in the Muskegon area for many years.
On Nov. 11, 1995, he married Dianne Juhnkie, of Spring Lake.
John is survived by his loving wife, Dianne; father, Kenneth F. Sternaman, of Traverse City; mother, Ruth Sternaman, of East Lansing; grandmother, Bertha Bischoff; brothers, Kenneth H. Sternaman and Steve Rowe; sisters, Kathleen Glover and Amanda Leonard, all of Traverse City, Cheryl Bush, of Brown City, and Angie (Joe )Forbes, of Mancelona; two uncles, John (Ruth) Henry and Paul Henry, both of McBride; more than two dozen nieces and nephews; as well as numerous cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his birth mother, Helene Kay Sternaman (Henry) in 1969; and stepmother, Cathleen Sternaman, who passed away earlier this year.
John might be best remembered for his quick, comedic wit and love for adventure; he was a thoughtful, unselfish man who never let his illness and misfortunes take over his focus on living each day for itself. John's life was a miraculous, treasured gift to all who knew and loved him as well as a courageous inspiration of hope to others living with cystic fibrosis.
At Johns request, there will not be a funeral. A dinner for family and close friends who would like to gather to celebrate his life will be announced at a later date.
We all extend our sincere thanks and will forever owe a deep debt of gratitude to the amazing efforts of DeVos Children's Hospital and the cystic fibrosis team. Because of their dedication and medical expertise, we were able to keep John with us for many unexpected years.
We ask that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts and donations in John's name be directed to DeVos Children's Hospital, Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, in Grand Rapids.