Corsina K. Sterzinger, age 97, of Colby, passed away on Friday, December 1, 2017 at Stoney River Memory Care
under the tender care of hospice
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 7, 2017 at St. Mary of Help of Christian Catholic Parish in Colby. Father Joseph Redfern will officiate. Interment to follow at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Colby. Family and friends are welcome from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6 at the Maurina-Schilling Funeral Home in Abbotsford and on Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. at the church. The Rosary will be recited at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday.
Corsina Kathryne Sterzinger lived to see a lot of history—her life spanned eleven decades. She was born Corsina Patten on December 28, 1919, near Westphalia in Shelby County, Iowa, at the end of the First World War. She had four brothers and three sisters, though her brother Linus died the year she was born. She died on Friday, the first of December, 2017, around 6 PM.
She was named after her aunt, a Catholic nun named Sister Corsina. Sister Corsina left Iowa in 1928 to found a Catholic school, hospital, and orphanage in China; she was captured by the Japanese during World War II and died in China. The younger Corsina (Kathryne) was educated at the Saint Boniface Catholic School in Westphalia, and remained a devoted Catholic all her life, with strong ties to her local church as well as to Sister Corsina’s institution in China. Every year at Christmas
, Corsina Kathryne gave her children and grandchildren rolled paper cards made by the Catholic nuns overseas in China.
Nineteen forty-one was the year Corsina Kathryne Patton married her husband, Morris Matthew Sterzinger. She met him after she moved to Chicago to find work, shortly before the Second World War. He had come to the city to go on a blind date with her, and they went bowling. They married on September 22 in Saint Mary Help of Christians Church in Colby, the same church where she has asked her family to hold her funeral and interment.
Before Morris entered military service during the war, they lived in Madison, Wisconsin. During the war, when he entered the US Army, the couple began to grow accustomed to the military lifestyle, moving from Abilene, Texas, to Seattle, Washington. After the war, Corsina had a brief rest back in Colby before Morris joined the new US Air Force, and they began to tour the world in earnest.
They became the parents of a large Air Force family, traveling everywhere from Texas to Okinawa in the service. They raised one daughter: Laurie Sterzinger Greene (deceased 1989), along with eight sons: Morris, James, Steven, Bob, Wayne, Gary, Gerald (deceased 1975), and Frank. Although most of the children grew up to have children too, Morris Sterzinger did not live to meet most of their grandchildren; he died at the age of 53 on June 21, 1971, of heart failure.
But although she continued to live on their farm in the fairly isolated town of Colby, Wisconsin, Corsina was rarely alone for long. Aside from an active social life, particularly within the church, and an impressive bowling career that continued into her mid-90s, she became the grandmother and great-grandmother of an enormous extended family. Many of her sons and daughters spent years in the Air Force and were spread out all over the world, but every Christmas, everyone who was able to travel
would return to the farmhouse in Colby to enjoy a warm, loving, and very noisy Christmas Eve celebration.
In the summer, Corsina took her grandchildren fishing and wading in the creek on her property, playing in the shallows under the rock dam her sons had built; she took them hunting for hazelnuts, and the grandkids enjoyed many hours climbing and roughhousing in the haymow of her barn while their fathers went fishing and their mothers relaxed. Corsina remained on the farm, entertaining friends and family, into her tenth decade. She was well known for making dill pickles, Christmas
pies, and peace between any parties who decided to get angry over a card game.
She has asked for some Latin to be used in her final Catholic mass, and she has asked her family to forego flowers at her service and to give the money to
the Saint Mary School instead.
She is survived by seven of her nine children, and her grandchildren Blake, Joey, Paul, Ann, Melissa, Frank, Matthew, Elizabeth, Keith, Lisa, Jenny, and Benjamin. Her grandchildren Kara and Jim-Ed are deceased. She was also survived by nineteen great-grandchildren; her brother, Harold and her sister, Gladys.
The Sterzinger family would like to thank the staff at Stoney River for their special care Corsina recevied.