Robert W. Sternfels, 97, died peacefully in his sleep the morning of Jan. 24.
Beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Robert joins his wife Nancy and son Robert B. Sternfels. He is survived by his son Mark B. and Mark’s wife Jackie Sternfels; his grandchildren Bob, Katie, Mark J, and Ryan; as well as great-grandchildren Samantha, Thomas, Andrew, Tessa, Julia, Emma and Charlotte. Also, survived by his daughter-in-law Bobbie and her family.
After enlisting as an Air Force pilot in World War II, Robert achieved the rank of major and later was awarded the Silver Star for his role in the execution of Operation Tidal Wave, which sought the destruction of Axis oil refineries in Ploiesti, Romania, in 1943. A photograph of his B-24 Liberator “Sandman” flying low over the destruction is often associated with the occasion and was a source of pride for Robert. He cherished the Thursday morning breakfasts with his WWII friends talking about their experiences. The two things Robert loved most in the world were his country and his family.
Robert and Nancy early on settled in beautiful Laguna Beach, where they built a house on a hill overlooking downtown and the Pacific Ocean. Robert enjoyed spending time tinkering in his garage, fixing things around the house, working on their motor home, reading the morning paper, and hosting parties and holiday festivities for their friends and family.
As strong as he was prideful, a “do it myself” kind of guy, Robert was truly a prime specimen of The Greatest Generation. He was a fighter through-and-through, and had a sarcastic wit, which reminded us that no matter how much he pushed us to do better he was still our Robert, our Dad, and our PopPop.
He fought, he loved, and he lived.