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Conrad Ray Sturch

Born: Fri., Nov. 5, 1937
Died: Fri., Jun. 13, 2014

Memorial Service

3:00 PM Sun., Aug. 03, 2014
Location: Our Lady of the Angels

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Conrad R. Sturch, an astronomer and dedicated churchman, died  June 13, 2014 at Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville, Maryland. He was 76.  

Conrad Ray Sturch was born in Cincinnati, OH on November 5, 1937 to Reverend Ray C. Sturch, a tent-maker pastor, and Esther C. Sturch, an artist and homemaker. He attended public schools in several towns in southwestern Ohio as his father moved from parish to parish. He graduated from Milton-Union High School in 1955.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in math and physics from Miami University of Ohio (Oxford, OH) in 1958 and received his Master of Science in physics from Miami U. in 1960. He was elected to Pi Mu Epsilon, Sigma Pi Sigma, and Phi Beta Kappa honoraries. He relocated to the University of California at Berkeley to pursue a doctorate in astronomy which he completed in 1965. He was a member of Sigma Xi. While living in Berkeley he met his future wife, Sharon Hocker, singing together in a local church choir. They married in September of 1962.  

Dr. Sturch’s first teaching appointment was at the University of Rochester (NY) in the Physics and Astronomy Department, where he also continued his research on red-shifting of galaxies. In 1973 he and his family moved to London, Ontario (Canada) where he taught at the University of Western Ontario for one year, then to Clemson University (SC) for two years.  

In 1976 he accepted an offer from Computer Sciences Corporation to join in support of the HEAO orbiting observatories mission under contract with NASA and moved to Rockville, MD. He wrote part of the proposal to NASA that resulted in the location of the Space Telescope Science Institute at the Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus and in 1981 he started his 21-year span of service at the Institute. He was a co-author of both Guide Star Catalogs developed for use by the Hubble Space Telescope and subsequent orbiting and ground-based telescopes. He retired from CSC and STScI in 2002.  

In retirement he volunteered with the pastors of his church, St. John’s United Church of Christ in Catonsville, for outreach services to St. Elizabeth and Brightview retirement facilities. For 25 years he sang in his church’s choir and a small a capella ensemble, and occasionally played piano for Sunday services.  

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, his daughter Kathryn Sturch of San Diego, CA, a great aunt in Arkansas and numerous cousins in the Midwest.

A memorial service will be held at Our Lady of the Angels chapel at Charlestown on August 3, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.
Parking will be available in the visitors' parking lot at Charlestown with shuttle service to the chapel.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Benevolent Care Fund at Charlestown, in care of the Philanthropy Office, 719 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville, MD    21228 or to the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 1020, New York, NY 10115 or to a charity of the donor's choice.

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Condolence Booklet

Joy O'Hare
   Posted Fri June 20, 2014
I mourn this loss with you, be strong, God will see you through and give you courage to go on.

Ann (Razer) Carrell
   Posted Mon June 23, 2014
Sharon and Kathryn,

My thoughts and prayers are with both of you and have been for quite awhile. I know it has been very difficult for both of you as well as Conrad for quite some time now, but that only helps some with the loss.

I always enjoyed getting to see Conrad at family reunions and especially appreciated his dedication to his parents, particularly Uncle Ray during his declining years.

It is very interesting to see the synopsis of Conrad's career and other interests. I often mention my cousin, the astronomer, when talking with various people I know, particularly about him being involved with the Hubble telescope.

I'm glad you had as many years here with Conrad as you did. I only wish he had gotten a bit more of the Grandma Stuart genes so you could have had him longer.

God's blessings to you, especially during this time.

One of many cousins,

Ann (Aunt Ruth Razer's youngest daughter)

Barbara Mountain Belt
   Posted Mon June 23, 2014
Dear Sharon and Kathryn,
My condolences to you both and my prayers are with you. I have many happy memories of babysitting for Kathryn while Conrad and Sharon went to squaredancing!

Dan Rehner
   Posted Tue June 24, 2014
Conrad was a great man, and I owe a lot to him for my success. I am sad that I didn't keep in touch but glad that I have many lasting good memories of the man who made my life so much better by working with him. He was the most honest and fair person I ever met. A great
astronomer and a true human being. Thank you Conrad. Take care and God bless you

Ray Lucas
   Posted Thu June 26, 2014
Dear Sharon and Kathryn, my thoughts are with you both. Conrad was my first supervisor at STScI and I can't think of a better place to have started there, nor a better group of people with whom to have worked when starting there, and Conrad had a major part in that. I will always remember and appreciate his help and encouragement, and the great sense of humor with which he helped get us all through our many tasks in making the original Guide Star Catalog and image archive, and not only in making those things, but in making them into a very useful, good quality product. But more than all of that, beyond just the arena of work and in the greater arena of life, at his core, Conrad was a very good man, and I count myself as very fortunate to have known him and worked with him. May peace, blessings, and good memories be with you both, and my thanks to him for being the good person that he was, and to both of you for helping him to be that person. He will always be a part of you both, and also of those of us who knew and worked with him.

Lisa Weems
   Posted Tue July 01, 2014
Dear Sharon and Kathryn,
I'm so sorry to hear of Conrad's passing. He was such a wonderful sweet soul. I enjoyed many great conversations with him while cutting his hair. He had a sharp memory, and was so intelligent, yet he could become emotional talking about a pet that had passed away. He was a special man with many accomplishments, and I was lucky to have known him. My prayers are with you. Lisa Weems

Don and Mary Van Dyke
   Posted Thu July 03, 2014
Sharon & Kathyrn,

We only knew Conrad here at Charlestown--we remember his gentle smile, how he loved chess and stamp collectingD, and his joy at your 50th wedding anniversary party. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Don and Mary

Tom Barnes
   Posted Sun October 05, 2014
Prof. Conrad Sturch was my advisor at the University of Rochester 1965-1966. He was approachable, always helpful, and a great influence on me. He was instrumental in getting the UofR to award me my degree 'with distinction.' I am very sorry for your loss; he was a good man.

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