Bruce graduated from Farmington High in 1951. He joined the National Guard and served during the occupation in Germany. He took on responsibility at an early age, as he was responsible for getting himself and his brother and sisters up, fed, and ready to cross the river horseback to catch the school bus and repeat the process daily. He also ran the ranch in the summers while his folks operated a trading post.
Bruce received an “”Honorary District Award”” from the FFA Vocational Agricultural Department while in high school.
Bruce was active with the County Fair, he encouraged 4-H children and supported the 4-H livestock sales. His cow herd started at the age of 3 when he was promised ownership if he could hold its tail through the branding process. His folks kept his herd intact until Bruce got out of the service. He grew the herd in numbers to his last days. At one time his herd was registered, and in recent years, he contracted the feed lot operation at NAPI.
His first job out of school was with El Paso for a short time constructing their first plants, then he operated the trading post at Star Lake and at Bisti Trading Post.
Working for someone else was not for Bruce. He bought a dozer and worked it on the farm, then he did jobs for the Indian Service and the Soil Conservation and the BIA.
In 1967 he formed Sterling Brothers Construction, Inc. The company has gone on to build water treatment plants, roads, bridges, subdivisions, dams, ripper laid pipe lines, oil field locations and many other “”things.””
Bruce was preceded in death by his biological parents, Al and Mable Palmer; his parents, Hugh and Iva Sterling; son Jeff; grandson, Jimmy; great grandson, Cyrus; eight brothers and sisters, Madge Gabeheart, Leon Palmer, Elmo Palmer, Lyle Palmer, Alma Ivie, Dale Palmer, Jack Palmer and Jimmy Palmer.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Cathleen (Cathy) Sterling; his five children, Mike (Penny), Brice (Brenda), Edward (Angela) Sterling, Cindy (Bill) Morrow, Ronda Kinkade, and two step children, Chris Briggs (Robbin), Lana (Bill) Woodfill; one brother, Lynn Sterling (Barbara); two sisters, Virginia Piercey (Bob) and Ester Ludwick; eleven brothers and sisters, Ivin Palmer (Elma), Ruth Barnett (Earl), Perry Palmer (Darlene), Ragina Palmer, Charolette Laehy, Charles Palmer (Irene), Lillian Brady (Gary), Blanche Sego (Robert), Nora Boice (Ronald) Venda Cavender, and Clarence Adair (Shirley). There are numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
There will be a viewing at Brewer, Lee & Larkin Funeral Home from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 6. The service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 7, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 400 W. Apache Street.
Interment will follow at East Hammond Cemetery , 481 CR 4990 in Bloomfield.
Bruce is in the care of Brewer, Lee & Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute Street, Farmington, 505-325-8688.
Published in Farmington Daily Times from July 3 to July 10, 2012