BRECKENRIDGE — Mark Sterling’s final video weather report on March 15 included commentary on “cooler temperatures” and a comparison between SNL’s “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” and tornadoes that touched down in mid-Michigan.
He closed his daily video forecast with predictions for warmer-than-normal temperatures and drier-than-normal conditions.
Well, now there are a few extra clouds in this April gray-blue sky — and a heckuva lot less sunshine.
Sterling of Breckenridge died Monday, April 1, at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit due to complications from a heart attack he suffered earlier in late-March. He was 57.
A man whom his friends and co-workers called “unique” for his penchant to study and deliver the weather, Sterling worked for the Lansing-based Michigan Agricultural Commodities Inc. (MAC) in Breckenridge as a quality controller and weatherman for almost 39 years.
His weather highlighted the basics for farmers — daily temperature, humidity, dew point, wind speed and a Growing Degree Day report — and appeared on Michigan Farm News’ website and michag.com.
Outside of MAC, Sterling was a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather service. His hobbies included metal detecting, coaching and announcing basketball games, camping, working on computers, being a sixth-grade camp counselor and a fan of University of Michigan sports.
“He was known by all,” said Adam Geers, a plant manager of MAC’s Breckenridge facility who worked with Sterling for two years. “His hobby and interests in weather were unique. He was in early every day to prepare the weather forecasts before the doors opened — in most days at 5, 5:30 (a.m.). … Certainly, Mark has been a long-term employee … and was known very well by the customer and the community.”
Sterling was born Oct. 22, 1961, at the Lubbock’s Air Force Base in Texas, the son of Basil and Nancy (Posey). He graduated from Breckenridge High School with the class of 1980. A few years later, Sterling married Tammy Edgar on Oct. 10, 1989, at the Amazing Grace Church.
He is survived by his wife, Tammy; daughter, Sara (Ryan Lowe); sons Mason, Andrew and Jackson; siblings Sheila (Jan) Oster, Mike (Kris), Sheree (Grant) Austin, Susie (Bob) Mecomber; mother-in-law, Gloria Edgar; father-in-law, Terry (Sherry) Edgar; sister-in-law, Amy Edgar; brother-in-law, Adam Edgar; and many nieces and nephews.
Sterling is preceded in death by his parents.
Bruce Sutherland had an 18-year history and working relationship with Sterling, who he said always went “beyond his normal job description.”
“It was unique to have an individual like Mark (work for us) and have a hobby like weather,” said Sutherland, president of the MAC. “It served a purpose to us in that it was a unique outreach to farmers. Mark had a passion for it. … (and) it certainly presented us with a unique following. We are going to miss that. We are going to miss what he brought to our company and our customers.
“You can’t do this unless you love what you do.”
A funeral service will be held 4 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2019, at the Lux and Whiting Funeral Chapel in Breckenridge. Visitation will be held noon Friday until the time of service. Interment will be held later at Ridgelawn Cemetery in Breckenridge.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Heart Association. To view Sterling’s obituary or to leave a condolence for the family visit www.luxfuneralhomes.com.
Before signing off on his weather reports, Sterling would send a “73s To All” salute to all of his listeners and viewers. 73 is a numeric message sent during the telegraph era to cut down on communication time.
Literally, it translates to “best regards” or “my compliments” or “to say farewell.”
Today, the Michigan Farm News staff and our grateful readers send a “73 to you, Mark.”