Elden Sternat, 85
Elden Sternat age 85 of New Hampton, IA, died Friday, August 12, 2022, at Linn Haven Rehab & Healthcare in New Hampton.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at Hugeback - Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in Fredericksburg with Rev. Scott Smith officiating.
Interment will be held at Rose Hill Cemetery, Fredericksburg with Justin Sternat, Dalton Sternat, Alex Sternat, Derek Nelson, Nicholas Sternat, and Nolan Sternat serving as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers are Dean Etter, Virgil Kuhlman, Raymond Lantow, and Neil Huegel.
Friends may greet the family from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. Monday, August 15, 2022, at Hugeback - Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in Fredericksburg. Visitation continues an hour prior to the service at the funeral home on Tuesday. Online condolences for the Sternat family may be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com 641-394-4334
Elden was born on October 10, 1936, to Albert and Mabel (Reisner) Sternat on the family farm in rural Fredericksburg, Iowa. He grew up in a strict, yet fair, home where he learned the value of hard work. The Sternats milked cows by hand and raised hogs and chickens.
He learned his 3 R’s at a one-room schoolhouse in Dresden Township back in the days when a teacher had a lot of options to put out-of-line kids back on the right path! Elden then transferred to Fredericksburg High School, where he was a member of the Class of 1955.
In 1958, Elden enlisted in the U.S. Army and received his basic training at Fort Hood in Texas and his advanced training at Fort Knox in Kentucky. He spent 14 months in what was then West Germany. He was proud of his service to his country.
When he returned home from the service, he farmed with his father, rented land from some neighbors, and did some odd jobs.
One night, he attended a basketball game in Fredericksburg, and the final score of that game didn’t matter for it was there that he met Betty Pierce. The two began dating, fell in love, and were married on October 14, 1962, in Alpha, beginning a marriage filled with love and hard work for almost 60 years.
Elden will tell you that Betty was not just his wife but also his best friend and business partner. The couple welcomed three children — Mike, Dan, and Joe — who, like their father, grew up in a stern yet fair home where hard work mattered. Elden farmed for many years and before he retired two years ago, he was “50-50” with two of his grandsons.
He loved to trap and enjoyed fishing; in fact, he wrote that Betty “put up with all the wet, dirty and, sometimes, smelly critters I drug home each fall.” They were a team when it came to getting his pelts up for market, and the trip to the fur buyer was always a special event. The couple always shared the check, which was “sometimes good, sometimes not so good!”
Elden worked hard, but he loved even harder. As he put it, “we have three sons … 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren … and I loved them all.”
He wrote down his thoughts near the end of his life, and as the song goes, “Adios, amigo, adios, my friend, the road we have traveled has come to the end, and what a great road it has been. I could not have planned it any better that warm October day in 1936 when I first saw the light.”
Elden felt he had been blessed for 80-plus years, and as much as we will miss him, we, too, have been blessed for having him be a part of our lives.
He is survived by his wife, Betty Sternat of New Hampton; three sons, Mike (Shelly) Sternat of Mount Union, Dan (DeeDee) Sternat of Fredericksburg, and Joe (Deborah) Sternat of Waucoma; 10 grandkids; and 15 great-great grandkids and three more who are coming in January.
Elden was preceded in death by his parents; and three sisters, Gloria Brandenburg, Pearl Trealor, and Jane Byram.