MADISON – Sterling William Schallert, age 93, of Madison, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 at a Madison hospital.
Born in Watertown, he was the son of William Henry Schallert and Rose May (Meyers) Schallert. Sterling resided in Sullivan and Fort Atkinson before attending UW-Madison, where he met Ruth Howland Merrihew, whom he married on Oct. 30, 1942. He served as a naval officer on LST 465 during WWII in the Pacific theater.
After the war, he returned to UW-Madison to finish his law degree, then joined American Family Insurance (then Farmers Mutual) where he worked for 37 years, eventually managing Claims for the states of WI, IL, and IN before retiring in 1984.
A long-time member of First Baptist Church, Sterling served at one time on every board of the church. His extensive volunteer work in the community included organizing Boy Scout troops all over Dane County, organizing Volunteers in Probation chapters around the state (working with youth in trouble with the law), and organizing Habitat for Humanity chapters throughout the state of WI, providing yearly training for all 18 chapters. He was an avid book collector, and started libraries in low-income apartment complexes, donating thousands of used books.
Sterling is survived by his wife of 70 years, Ruth Merrihew Schallert; daughters Mary (Ansis) Freimanis of Metairie LA, Nancy Schallert of Sun Prairie, and RuthAnn Schallert-Wygal of Chicago; son William Sterling Schallert of Madison; four grandchildren, Romana (Tito) Autrey of Champaign IL, Michael (Joanne) Freimanis of Pearland TX, Heidi (William) Freimanis-Cordts of Boston MA, Lila Schallert-Wygal of Brooklyn NY; great-grandchildren, Alyssa and Natalie Freimanis and twins Sterling and Adrien Autrey.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters Adelaide Umland and Rosemary Newman; his brothers Winston and Donovan Schallert; and his son-in-law, John Schallert-Wygal.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, at FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, 518 N. Franklin Ave, Madison WI 53705, with the Rev. Mark Clinger officiating. Family can be visited during the reception following.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to First Baptist Church or the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery AL 36104.