About the Sterlings

Ted Sterling

Theodor (Ted) Sterling was born and raised in Vienna, Austria. In 1940, he and his family fled to the United States to escape the threat of Nazism. They were completely impoverished, and Ted took work where he could find it, then enlisted in the U.S. Army. Following World War II, he returned to school, finishing grades nine to 12 in one year. By 1955, he had two degrees from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from Tulane, soon followed by academic appointments at Alabama, Michigan and Cincinnati.

In 1972, Ted joined SFU, established the Computer Science department, and served as its first chair. Seeing the potential of computers for academic research, Ted was among the first in the fields of epidemiology and risk analysis to use the technology in analyses of massive public health databases.

However, Ted was no stranger to controversy. He was aware of the potential threats computing technology could pose to individual privacy and was among the first to warn the public of these dangers.

In addition to many fellowships and awards from various professional societies, Ted also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from SFU in 2001. After a decade of battling the effects of Parkinson’s disease, Ted died of pneumonia on January 26, 2005, in Vancouver.

Nora Sterling

Nora Moskalik Sterling was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After completing a master's degree in psychology, Nora helped pioneer community-based care programs for mental health patients in the United States before settling in Vancouver in 1972.

As an active patron of the arts, she was a partner in The Small Indulgence, the first store to bring folk-art to the city; developed a major art glass studio on Granville Island, New-Small & Sterling Studio Glass; and philanthropically supported Vancouver's arts community, including gifting a collection of Jack Shadbolt's work to the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

Nora was complex, fiercely loving, intelligent, contrary, and original. She died comfortably at home on March 28, 2013.

The Sterlings are survived by their two sons, four granddaughters, and the many people whose lives they have impacted.