Ben W Stearns, Jr., 86, of Cedar Rapids, died Tuesday, August 20, 2013, at The Woodlands of The Meth-Wick Community, Cedar Rapids. Visitation will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 28, 2013, at Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Marion. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, August 29, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church, Marion. The memorial service will be conducted by the Reverend Dr. Howard Chapman.
He was born January 8, 1927 at Logan Iowa, the son of Ben W Stearns and Mary Agnes Henn Stearns. The family moved to Des Moines in 1939, where he graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1944. After attending Drake University for one semester he entered the U.S. Army and served 15 months in the Philippines.
After returning to Des Moines, he worked in the printing trades and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Drake in 1951. He then worked for the Iowa City Press-Citizen as reporter, city editor and news editor for 11 years until joining Collins Radio Co. of Cedar Rapids, serving as public relations manager. He later worked for the advertising and public relations agency CMF&Z until retiring in 1990.
In 1953 he married Mary Teresa Anderson of Des Moines. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, Jane Upmeyer and husband Steve of Tell City, IN, Reverend Dr. Gail Stearns, Dean of the Chapel at Chapman University, Orange, CA, Nancy Martin and husband Robert of Hardwick, MA; a sister, Margaret McVicker of Catonsville, MD, a brother-in-law, Louis Norris of Des Moines, IA, and six grandchildren: Amy Smith and husband Josh of Indianapolis, IN, Staci Upmeyer, Indianapolis, IN, John Moody, Los Angeles, CA, Jeana Moody, Claremont, CA, Laura Martin, attending graduate school at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Ian Martin, Los Angeles, CA. He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Dorothy Norris.
In retirement Ben researched and wrote the book, Arthur Collins, Radio Wizard, a biography about the founder of Collins Radio Co. and history of the company, now Rockwell Collins. He was a 51-year member and elder of First Presbyterian Church, Marion. He was a 50-year member of Masonic Lodge No. 4, Iowa City and a member of American Legion Post No. 563, Bonaparte, IA. He had also been elected to and served as chairman of the Marion Parks Board.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to First Presbyterian Church of Marion or the Ben W Stearns Memorial Fund. Donations to this fund will be used for ongoing projects to preserve the history of Arthur A. Collins. Donations may be made directly to the fund at any Collins Credit Union, and are tax deductible.
The Stearns family extends their deepest appreciation to those who cared for Ben: the compassionate nursing staff and chaplains at the Woodlands of Meth-Wick, hospice and palliative care of St. Luke’s Hospital, Dr. William Fusselman and staff, and the pastors and congregation of First Presbyterian Church, Marion.