Sterling Ocheltree

Sterling Darrell Ocheltree, 82 of Ripley gained his heavenly wings on Sunday, January 10. “Sterl” as he was known to family and friends will be sorely missed by his wife of 63 years, Doris Painter Ocheltree. In addition, he is survived by his sons Rick (Robin) of Richmond, VA, Jerry (Kathryn) of N. Myrtle Beach, SC, and Terry (Teresa) of Ripley. A daughter-in-law Angel Ocheltree preceded him in death.

Nine grandchildren who call him PawPaw are Amy (Chris) Schaaf, Emily (Sam) Gottwald, Erin (Drew) Bowman, Evan (Alexis) Ocheltree, Tara (Caleb) Morrison, Megan (Taylor) Kirkland, Hunter and Kyle Ocheltree and Paige (Josh) Thurman. There are also 12 great grandchildren with another due within the next few weeks.

He was born October 25, 1938 in Braxton County WV the son of Hurley and Muriel Morrison Ocheltree who preceded him in death. In addition, brother Harry and sisters Lillian Ocheltree, Ruby Casto, Kathleen Pence, and Betty Hobbs preceded him in death. He is survived by sister Colleen Pence and brothers Jackie (Anna) and Archie (Mary) Ocheltree.

Sterl was close to his Painter in-laws Donna, Sue, Eddie and Becky and their spouses Phil, David, Louise, and Mike. Both Becky Keller and Phil Keller preceded him in death. Many nieces and nephews treasured him as an uncle. And, for some he served as an honorary Grand Paw since they had no living grandpas.

He began work at Kaiser Aluminum after graduating from Ripley High School in 1957. He retired 43 years later as a millwright with Constellium. He was a member of the United Steel Workers local 5668.

Sterl was an outstanding athlete at Ripley High School. He was captain of the football team his senior year and had the privilege of being coached by the legendary coach Paul Lanham. Coach Lanham went on to become an NFL football coach. Recognized as a standout baseball player, he was offered a scholarship to WVU. Following his high school years, he continued to play baseball and traveled with the Ripley League fastpitch softball team. His love of athletics stayed with him throughout his lifetime. As his sons became interested in playing baseball, he became active with Ripley Little League baseball. He served as president of the League for several years. He also was instrumental in helping to establish Ripley midget league football. His knowledge of sports, his even temperament, and his ability to communicate with young people all made him a real asset to youth sports.

If there was a sporting event at the high school most likely Sterl was there, whether it was football, basketball, baseball, or volleyball. He enjoyed watching both the boys and girls participate in sports.

He was well known throughout the area for his knowledge and skill in building construction. He built two homes for his own family and made renovations to several other homes for his family and friends. He taught many of his nephews and family friends valuable life skills as well. Uncle Sterl was the “go to” person for information. He used his skills as a volunteer for the betterment of the community as well. Many of his friends will agree with the statement “I have never heard anyone say anything bad about Sterl Ocheltree”. He was a man of his word.

He attended church at Calvary United Methodist Church for several years. In his later years he was unable to attend church. The family requests that those who would like to remember Sterl to give a memorial donation to Calvary United Methodist Church Food Pantry, 205 North Court Street, Ripley, WV 25271. A celebration of Sterl’s life will be held at a later date. Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley, is serving the family.

Posted online on January 15, 2021