After an eleven year battle with Parkinson's Disease—combated with a therapeutic love of chocolate, dry wit, intelligence, and a burgeoning passion for photography—Albert G. Stirling passed away on April 5, 2020. He was preceded in death by his mischievously wonderful wife of sixty years, Patricia Hoag Stirling. They are survived by their two Aggie sons, Glenn and Paul, and "favorite daughter" (only) Kathy Stirling Kelley, along with Glenn and Paul's families—their wives, Shelly and Cheri, and Paul's children, Nicole and Troy.
Al was born August 24, 1931, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the only child of Ruth and Albert Stirling. His father died in an industrial accident when Al was 3 months old, and was raised by his Aunt and Uncle, Gladys and Glenn Garrison, until age 10 when his mother remarried. After graduation in 1949, from Wilkinsburg High School, he attended the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He fell in love and married the physics professor's daughter. Upon graduation from the Academy as an Ensign with a Bachelor of Science Degree, he served four years of sea duty as a deck and then engineering officer. In 1957, Al was assigned to the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering post graduate program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He graduated from MIT in 1960 with a Master of Science Degree and a Naval Engineers Degree. After two years at sea as engineering officer on the Coast Guard Icebreaker Northwind out of Seattle, Washington, he was assigned to the Coast Guard's Merchant Marine Technical Division in Washington D.C. and later New York City. He returned to Washington D.C. in 1969, and was assigned to develop the Coast Guard's first anti-pollution efforts and was a member of the United States Working Delegation to the International Maritime Consultative Organization for maritime oil spill control. He was awarded the Coast Guard's Meritorious Service Medal for his development of pollution control regulations. In 1973, he was transferred to Houston, Texas, as Officer In Charge of Marine Inspection.
Al retired from the Coast Guard in 1977, and took a position with the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) in College Station, Texas, as Manager of the Marine Fire Fighting program at the Brayton Firemen's Training Field. Subsequent positions with TEEX included Manager of the Brayton facility and then Director of the Oil and Hazardous Materials Training Division. He retired in 1993, and took a part-time computer support position with the TEEX Network and Information Services Division. He retired again from TEEX in 2014.
Al was a registered Professional Engineer in Washington D.C. and Texas. He loved aviation, held a multi-engine Airline Transport Pilot rating, and was a flight instructor for airplanes, gliders and instruments. He was an FAA designated pilot examiner for 14 years, held Gold Distance and Diamond Goal soaring badges, and was a life member of the Soaring Society of America. He was also a Master Mason and a member of the Christ United Methodist Church in College Station, Texas.
In each endeavor, Al was admired and respected for his supportive managerial style, wit, intelligence, ability to get the job done, and to consume large quantities of chocolate without weight gain.
Due to Covid-19 circumstances, we hope you will celebrate our dad's life with a mounding bowl of Blue Bell Ice Cream and a bit of chocolate. We would absolutely love a good old fashion letter with stories about our dad, his influence or humor. Like our dad, we are a bit irreverent, so don't hold back. Next year, we will scatter our parents' ashes in glider flight over the Soaring Club of Houston's airfield, and near Kellettville, Pennsylvania, located at the edge of the Alleghany National Forest, where our dad spent his summers as a boy.
Letters may be sent to, Kathy Stirling Kelley, 305 N Parker Ave., Studio 116, Bryan, TX 77803. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to MRC Crestview ATTN: Donna Williams, 2505 Villa Maria Rd, Bryan TX 77802 or the Parkinson's Foundation.