He was born in Middlesboro (Noetown) on October 8, 1944. to his parents Joe Robert and Martha Cupp Sturdivant, who preceded him in death.
He leaves behind his wife Sandy of 35 years; sons, Ivan “Joey” and wife Cathy Sturdivant of Santa Maria, Calif., Michael Sturdivant of Arroyo Grande, Calif.; his daughters Debbie and husband Chris Penning of Salem, Ore., Shelly and husband Robert Love of Orange, Calif’; his grandchildren, Ashleigh Sturdivant Wright, Karess Sturdivant, Marena Sturdivant, Addison Sturdivant, Christian Penning, Jacob Alvis, Logan Love, Austin Love; his brother, William and wife Betty Sturdivant of Tazewell, Tenn.; his sisters, Verlie Viola Williams, Pearly Leona Shibata and Bertha Jane Seymour all of Middlesboro, and Bobbie Lorene and husband Brice Laughlin of Georgetown, Texas; sister-in-law Sheryl and husband Ben Ibach of Oakland, Tenn.; one aunt, Bertha Crum of New Tazewell, Tenn.; along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other loving family members and friends; and one special friend and cousin, Wanda Baker of Michigan.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his grandparents, Jake and Liddie Tuttle Cupp, and William and Thursie Ayers Sturdivant.
He attended Noetown School, where he was captain of the School Safety Patrol. His dad signed for him to join the National Guards in Middlesboro when he was 17, and he later joined the Army where he got his GED. When he joined the Army he was assigned to FT. Bragg, N.C., 82nd Airborne Delta Force. With his Army and National Guard time he served 35 years. He was a platoon sergeant serving as a paratrooper combat medic VAC in Vietnam going behind enemy lines to rescue the wounded and dead.
Family and friends believe he was the only boy from Noetown to be with “as they say’ All Americans aka the 82nd Airborne Delta Force Division the most “badass” unit ever. They could never picture him parachuting out of an airplane or doing some of the things they did behind enemy lines. His mother spent many nights praying and not knowing where he was only an APO address, and one year a Christmas card for the DMZ line that told her he was in Korea.
He lived in Santa Maria, Calif., before moving to Oregon. In his free time he loved to fish and camp with his family and church.
Services were held at the Living Word Faith Fellowship Church in Dallas on Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. with full military honors . Burial will be in the Willamette National Cemetery Portland, Ore.
He will be missed by all.
Farnstrom Mortuary, Independence, Ore. is handling arrangements.
This obituary is a courtesy to the family by the Creech Funeral Home of Middlesboro.