Memorial services for James Philip Guenther Sterbenz, 62, Lawrence will be held at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, March 10, 2019 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lawrence. He passed away Monday, February 25, 2019 at his home.
James was born in June 1956 and grew up in University City, Missouri, the son of Bertram and Lois (Link) Sterbenz. He attended Washington University St. Louis, receiving multiple undergraduate degrees and a doctorate (D.Sc.) in Computer Science in 1991.
Dr. Sterbenz joined the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty of the University of Kansas in 2005. He received the Miller Award from the KU School of Engineering in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The Engineering Miller award recognizes outstanding work by Engineering faculty. Dr. Sterbenz is an internationally known expert in Internet communications networks and an author of two books and over 120 journal and conference papers in the field. James connected KU with many universities across the globe, having adjunct or visiting professor appointments at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China. He served his profession in many ways and his research was supported by multiple federal agencies. Dr. Sterbenz mentored many graduate students who have gone on to successful careers in industry.
James had many hobbies. He always had his Nikon camera and many lenses at the ready. His trademark Aussie hat adorned many photos of places he had been and the delightful meals (and beverages) he had enjoyed. He loved music, and was particularly knowledgeable about film scores, instrumental, and symphonic music. Instilled in him by his father was a love for organ music. He had a unique appreciation for all aspects of railroad signaling and enjoyed many hours in train stations photographing and trying to document the signaling protocols of many different national railways. He was a weekend arborist and enjoyed caring for trees as well as adorning them with Christmas lights (which he insisted should remain lit, even during the nights well after the new year). Decorating at Christmas was one of his joys, and he was proud to carve the turkey and make the oyster stuffing. A collector of many different things, James particularly enjoyed his collection of fountain pens and used them whenever he could. One of his many passions included taking care of and playing with cats. He was involved in the recent city council proceedings regarding the plans for taking care of feral cats, championing the capture, neuter, and release of these cats.
He was married to his wife Kris for 34 years and they had one daughter, Kat. He also leaves behind four furry felines.
Other survivors include a brother, David Sterbenz and a sister, Leslie (Cliff) Sterbenz Schmid James was preceded in death by his parents.
The family will greet friends from 3:00 ~ 4:00 p.m., Sunday, March 10, 2019 at the church prior to the service.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to The Lawrence Humane Society to start the fund to neuter, trap, and release feral cats, or a fund has been set up to help young orchestra musicians keep on learning and making music at Seaman High School
Memorials may be sent to Seaman High School. In the memo section: in memory of James Sterbenz
Address: Seaman High School
4850 NW Rochester Rd
Topeka, KS. 66617
On envelope Attn: Kat Sterbenz
or either memorial may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
For a short time, a wonderful tribute written by Burkhard Stiller is available at https://www.csg.uzh.ch/.