Madison Germain Sterne, (M.G.), age 92, died December 3, 2020 at the Illinois Veteran’s Home, Quincy, Illinois. He was born November 26, 1928, the son of Madison G. Sterne (Matt) and Lyda Frances Kiedaisch Sterne.
M.G. attended high school in Keokuk, graduating in 1946. That fall he entered Knox College in Galesburg, majoring in English. He was a proud member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. On August 15, 1949, he married his soul mate, Joan Cochrane Baker, the daughter of E. Ross and Mary Baker. M.G. and Joan lived in Galesburg until he graduated from Knox in 1950. At that time, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Infantry. In 1951, he was called to active service. He, his wife and first child, Leslie, lived in Japan and Okinawa during his combat service in Korea in 1953. After returning to the U. S., the family moved to Enterprise, Alabama where he was assigned Company Commander of Company M351 and where he was promoted to Captain. It was at Fort Rucker that his second child, Toby, was born.
After returning to Keokuk, he and family then moved to rural Nauvoo, Illinois and he was employed by the Hubinger Company where he was Personnel Director, Safety Director and editor of The Kernel magazine. He retired from Hubinger’s in 1978.
He is survived by his two children, son, Madison Germain Sterne III, (Toby), and youngest daughter Jennifer Ross Sterne, and her partner, Steve Miller. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Sarah Sterne and his brother, Jack, of Columbia, South Carolina, nephews, great nephews and great nieces. Also surviving are his step granddaughter, Mollie Miller, her two sons, Brody and Elijah, and two cousins, Ellen Kiedaisch of Hamilton, Montana, and John Kiedaisch of Hinesburg, Vermont. M.G. was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Joan, and his father. His mother, eldest daughter, Leslie Sterne Scott, her husband, Wright Scott and their two-year-old child, Jason Ryder, Jr. were all killed in an airplane crash in December of 1972.
M. G. and Joan, after the tragedy of the plane crash, with no real experience with horses, started Montebello Morgan Horse Farm. With Jennifer as manager, the farm produced world champion Morgan Horses, and was highlighted in the Morgan Horse Magazine in 2004. He was a long-time member of the American Morgan Horse Association, the American Horse Shows Association and past president of the Jubilee Regional Morgan Championship Show.
The product of a liberal education, M.G. was constantly learning. He enjoyed literature, nature, music, history (especially the Civil War), photography, world religions (he was a Unitarian Universalist) and people. His favorite things were conversation and story-telling where one would always notice his dry wit and warm personality. His favorite place was on the horse farm, sitting in the sun while watching foals playing in the fields, birds on the feeders, or monarch butterflies that he raised in his milkweed garden. His gentle way characterized his life.
After Joan died in 2011, M.G. adopted his little dog, Isaac from a local shelter and they were buddies until the end. Isaac survives and requests donations be made to any animal shelter near you. In M.G.’s memory it is also appropriate to support any organization that promotes the natural world around us and its sustainability, or to the family who will do so on your behalf.
During M.G.’s final months, his quality of life was greatly enhanced by the caring staff of the Veteran’s Home for which we are extremely grateful.
According to his wishes, no services will be held at this time.
Tributes and condolences may be left at www.dejongsfuneralhome.com.
DeJong-Greaves-Printy Funeral Home of Keokuk is in charge of arrangements.