CANFIELD — Richard E. Sternagel, 76, passed away Tuesday evening, March 23, 2021, after an 18-year battle with MS, and from recent heart issues.
He was born March 5, 1945, in Youngstown, a son of the late George and Wanda Mack Sternagel.
Richard attended YSU and Ohio State University for his undergrad degree in social work, and completed his master’s degree at WVU in 1973. While working on his graduate degree, he spent six weeks in Japan as a part of the program, which he enjoyed and treasured as a wonderful life experience.
He began his career with the Welfare Dept. and retired from Woodside Receiving Hospital in 1996, where he spent most of his career. While there on staff, he advocated for his peers as a union steward and testified in Columbus to advocate for state licensure of social workers, which came to fruition because of his efforts (one of his proudest achievements). Following retirement from Woodside, Richard consulted and worked part-time for the local Epilepsy Foundation and the Renal Care Group, until his MS diagnosis in 2003.
He was a former member of Grandmaster Chun Tai Kwon Do, NASW member, and the West Virginia University Alumni Association. He was an avid reader, enjoyed computer work and games.
Rich was passionate and loved the Cleveland Browns, Cavs and Indians, and The Ohio State Buckeyes. Other favorites were chocolate chip cookies and ice cream drumsticks, which he enjoyed on a daily basis.
In his pre-MS years, he was an avid runner, completing several marathons, and received a black belt in karate. He also taught karate for many years.
He married the love of his life, Janet L. Jacola Sternagel, on Oct. 5, 1991, and they were looking forward to celebrating their 30th anniversary, which sadly, wasn’t meant to be.
Richard is also survived by his mother-in-law, Virginia M. Jacola; nieces, Stacey (Atty. Steven) Schermer of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Lesley Gent of South Beach, Fla. and Rebecca (Atty. John) Silva of Foxboro, Mass.; great-nieces, Hayley Schermer, Brooke Schermer and Katelynn Dineen; great-nephew, Andrew Silva; cousin, John (Janet) Sternagel and their children, John and Megan Sternagel; and cousin, Florence (Dr. Pat) Cestone and their daughter, Louisa Cestone.
He was also preceded in death by his brother, Joseph Sternagel; father-in-law, Anthony J. Jacola; and sister-in-law, Janice Gent.
He will be deeply missed by his wife and all who knew him.
Family and friends may call Wednesday, April 7, 2021, from 10 to 11:45 a.m. at St. Michael Church, where a Mass of Christian burial will follow at noon.
In lieu of flowers, material tributes may take the form of donations to St. Michael Church, 300 N. Broad St., Canfield, OH 44406, or Multiple Sclerosis Society National, 4300 Belmont Ave. Youngstown, OH 44505.
Professional arrangements are being handled by Higgins-Reardon Funeral Homes, Boardman-Canfield Chapel.