Cover photo for Robert "Bob" J. Sterler's Obituary
Robert "Bob" J. Sterler Profile Photo
1947 Robert "Bob" 2023

Robert "Bob" J. Sterler

May 16, 1947 — November 10, 2023




Robert J. “Bob” Sterler

Sheldon, Iowa

            Services for Robert J. “Bob” Sterler, age 76, of Sheldon who passed away on Friday, November 10, 2023, at Community Memorial Health Center in Hartley.  His funeral service will be 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, at Faith Community Church in Sheldon with Pastor Kevin Gingerich ~ officiating.

            Bob's service will be livestreamed at 

            Burial will be at East Lawn Cemetery in Sheldon with military honors presented by McGlothlen-Cowie Post 145 of the Sheldon American Legion.

            Visitation with family present will be from 5 – 7 P.M. on Monday, November 13, 2023, at the Vander Ploeg Funeral Home in Sheldon.

            In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to Bill Sterler for a future memorial in Bob's name.







May 16, 1947 ~ Sibley, Iowa


November 10, 2023 ~ Hartley, Iowa



11:00 A.M. November 14, 2023

Faith Community Church; Sheldon, Iowa

Pastor Kevin Gingerich ~ Officiating



“Where I Find God” ~ Larry Fleet

“Proud To Be An American” ~ Lee Greenwood

“I Wish Grandpas Never Died” ~ Riley Green


“Because He Lives”

Organist:  Margaret Anderson



Cody Christians                        Brandon Christians

Travis Sterler                                        Ryan Sterler

Dalton Korthals                            Mathew Ennema



East Lawn Cemetery ~ Sheldon, Iowa

Military Honors Presented By:

McGlothlen-Cowie Post #145 of Sheldon American Legion

After today’s graveside service, relatives and friends are invited to join the family in the fellowship hall of the church.

Arrangements are under the care of the

Vander Ploeg Funeral Home; Sheldon, Iowa.

Robert John Sterler, 76, passed away peacefully Friday, November 10, 2023, in Hartley, Iowa.   Bob was born on May 16, 1947, in Sibley, Iowa to John and Frances (DeGroot) Sterler.  His childhood was spent growing up on the family farm south of Ashton.  Bob attended Ashton Country School and later attended Sheldon Public Schools, graduating in 1965.  Bob joined the United States Army immediately after high school graduation, and went to boot camp at Fort Hood, TX.  On December 22, 1965, Bob married his high school sweetheart, Arlene Bonestroo in Sheldon, Iowa.  They made their first home together on the Homestead Air Force Base in Homestead, Florida.  Bob was deployed to Vietnam in March 1967 through March 1968, where he was an Administrative Specialist E5, and documented all classified information for General Westmoreland.  Upon his return, Bob and Arlene made their home in Sheldon, Iowa where he worked for his father’s-in-law company, owned The Uptown Lounge, and for many years, sold beauty supplies to cosmetologists across Iowa.  He was a natural salesman and joked he could “sell ice to an Eskimo”.  He later was in advertising sales at Iowa Information. 

Bob enjoyed hunting, fishing, boating, and spending time with his family at their cabin at West Lake Okoboji.  He taught his kids and grandkids how to water ski and created a love of the lake for his entire family.  Bob was a member of the United Methodist Church, performed as Thaddeus in the Last Supper performance for many years, taught Sunday School, and Bible Study, and chaperoned several Colorado youth ski trips.  Bob was a self-proclaimed jack of all trades, master of none.  He was always tinkering with old cars, building, or remodeling things or fixing the neighbor kids bicycles.  “Robbie’s daddy could fix anything”, was a famous line he always laughed at, but that held true for many years.  He was also a member of Fraternal Order of Eagles and Disabled American Veterans.  Bob was able to attend Midwest Honor Flight in October 2019, which was a highlight in his life.

Left to cherish his memory are his children, Karen (Craig) Christians of Blue Earth, MN, Bill (Renee) Sterler of Sanborn, and Robbie Korthals (Fiancé, Ryan Gillaspie) of Rock Rapids.  Grandchildren, Cody (Jana) Christians, Brandon (Nicole) Christians and Courtney Christians, Travis (Ashley Shugars) Sterler and Ryan (fiancé, Maggie Ohrt) Sterler, Dayna Korthals and Dalton Korthals.  Great Grandchildren, Mikayla and Kayden Christians.  Brothers, Roger and Ronald Sterler, and sisters Madonna Feyerabend and Marilyn Rees, sisters and brothers-in-law, Lynn Seivert, Pat (Larry) Snyder and Pam (Darrell) Kruger, along with many nephews and nieces and other relatives.

Bob was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Arlene, his parents, parents-in law, Fred & Clara Bonestroo, sisters in law, Dena Sterler, Joanne Sterler, Phyllis Sterler, brothers-in-law, Arnie Verrips, Lawrence Feyerabend, Marty Ennema, John Rees and Dean Seivert.  Nephews, Ryan Ennema and Kent Olson.  Nieces Francine Verrips, Donna Sterler, Shelly Palmer, Jaime Verrips and Bella Snyder, and his beloved mini schnauzer, Molly Mae.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert "Bob" J. Sterler, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, November 13, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Vander Ploeg Funeral Home - Sheldon

724 Sixth Avenue, Sheldon, IA 51201

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

11:00 - 11:45 am (Central time)

Faith Community Church

506 8th St., Sheldon, IA 51201

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

East Lawn Cemetery - Sheldon

700 Union Ave., Sheldon, IA 51201

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 1995

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree