John P. Sturman

John P. Sturman, 90, passed away March 27, 2024 in New Bern, NC.  A graveside committal service will be held 1 pm Saturday, April 6, at Linwood Cemetery, Dubuque, where military rites will be accorded. A livestream of the service can be viewed at

Born in 1933 in Minneapolis, MN, John attended grade school there through the 7th grade. In 1945, his father was transferred to Dubuque, Iowa, where the remainder of his formal schooling took place. He graduated from the University of Dubuque in 1958 with a business degree.

He entered Army military service in 1955 spending two years in Heidelberg, Germany, before returning to finish university. Following graduation he worked in industry for 5 years. Then an opportunity came to go in the USAF Officer Training School. Upon completion, he was sent for training in Transportation. Subsequent overseas tours the next 21 years took him to Newfoundland, Japan, Thailand and Africa. Stateside tours were in South Carolina, Texas, New Jersey, Washington and California. He was named an Outstanding Transportation Officer in 1968 and retired as a Major in 1982 with over 27 years active and Reserve military time.

Because he was married to a Swiss citizen, he was able to acquire Swiss citizenship and was a dual citizen, United States of America and Switzerland.

His family moved to New Bern, NC, upon retirement where he owned and operated Bern Bear Gifts for 40 years. A lifelong Presbyterian, he attended First Presbyterian Church in New Bern and was active in the church throughout his life. He was a life member of the Retired Officers Association, the Air Force Association, and a member of VFW, the Downtown Business & Professional Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the New Bern Golf & Country Club. In this City, he was responsible for starting the Alpenverein Social Club in 1985, the Annual Sunday Jazz Showcase in 1990, and was the Chairman of the de Graffenried Memorial Committee which planned and implemented a bronze bust of Baron Christopher de Graffenried, New Bern’s Swiss founder in 1710. He was made an Honorary de Graffenried in 1992 for his assistance to the de Graffenried Association during their annual meetings in New Bern and for his outstanding efforts to share the original heritage of this City.

Surviving are his devoted wife Hanna, his only child, daughter Janna Lenore Sturman Harton with husband Dr. Jonathan Harton of Albany, NY, and their two sons Joshua Harton (Kellia) of Durham, NC, and Jeremy Harton, of Albany, New York. Two siblings remain, sister Marjorie Beil (Richard) in Minnetonka, MN, and Robert in Nashua, NH and Dubuque, IA.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Capital Campaign Fund of First Presbyterian Church, PO Box 1069, New Bern, NC 28563.

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