Retired Navy Cmdr. Charles M. Sturkey, 85, died in the early hours of July 14, 2002, at South Pointe Assisted Living Residence in Everett.
He was the oldest child of Charles and Rosa Sturkey and loving husband of Mary Minahan Sturkey.
Mr. Sturkey was born Oct. 17, 1916, in Mascot, Tenn. He graduated from North Carolina State University and earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering at Virginia Polytech. He was a radio operator on a ship to earn money for college, and was able to help pay for his sister Nelle’s college as well. His radio work started a life-long hobby as a ham radio operator, with call letters W7TNA.
When the United States declared war, Mr. Sturkey joined the Navy and was sent to the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated in marine engineering and naval architecture. During World War II he served on several carriers, including the USS Wasp. He worked in ship maintenance in Plymouth, England, and inspected ships used in the D-Day invasion.
Soon after VE Day he met the love of his life. He persuaded Mary Minahan to help him at the Office of Foreign Liquidation selling lend-lease watercraft. When the job was completed, Mary traveled to Vallejo, Calif., then to Seattle to meet his family. They were married Jan. 24, 1948. The couple’s first home was in Medford, Mass., then Staten Island, N.Y. The couple then lived at his duty stations in Turkey and Washington, D.C., followed by a move to Bremerton, where Mr. Sturkey was involved in building the USS Coral Sea.
The Sturkeys’ last duty station was Sasebo, Japan, where he was in charge of the Navy shipyard. In Japan he built the trimaran Chamaru. He retired from the Navy in 1968. Two years later the couple and Abraham Magpatoc left Japan on the Chamaru to circumnavigate the globe. During the trip, Charles kept in touch with friends and family through his ham radio.
After their world cruise, the Sturkeys built a home at Honeymoon Bay on Whidbey Island. Mr. Sturkey continued his sailing and ham radio hobby. Abraham Magpatoc also settled in the area, married Marina, and remained close to the family. The Sturkeys sold real estate for Marine Land, and later for Whidbey Realty.
Charles was preparing the Chamaru for another extended cruise when he fell, hit his head and suffered a stroke. He spent his last couple of years at South Pointe Assisted Living, where his sister, Nelle Willis, is a resident and Marina Magpatoc is the resident services supervisor. With the loving care given by the staff at South Point, daily visits by Abraham, Mary’s many visits, and friends and family stopping by, Mr. Sturkey got the most from his last years.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a younger brother, James Sturkey. He is survived by his wife, Mary; a sister, Nelle Willis; Abraham and Marina Magpatoc; and many nephews and nieces. Military services will be held at Bayview Cemetery at 1 p.m. July 18. The family suggests memorials in his name to the Boys’ Clubs.