William C. Sturgeon, a pioneer in the elevator industry and a friend and mentor to many, passed away on October 11, 2012 at the age of 95. This week, T. Bruce MacKinnon (Sturgeon’s Grandson and current Elevator World Publisher) issued a statement to the industry:
“William C. Sturgeon, founder of ELEVATOR WORLD, passed away on October 11, 2012, at the age of 95. He was born in the Bronx and grew up in Utica, New York, the oldest child of William D. Sturgeon and Katherine Mate Sturgeon.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, the former Mary Sands Dreisback, a native of Mobile, Alabama; by a granddaughter, Lisa Kay MacKinnon; and by a sister, Kay Sturgeon Smith. He leaves behind a loving family: a daughter, Ricia Hendrick (Jimmy); a grandson, T. Bruce MacKinnon (Dana); six great-grandchildren: Clint MacKinnon, Olivia MacKinnon, Mary Thomas MacKinnon, Eli MacKinnon, Lily Grace MacKinnon and Harbour MacKinnon, all of Mobile; a sister, Jeanne Blackburn of McAllen, Texas; five nieces, Chris Layfield, Valerie Blackburn, Adriene Coffey, Melissa Trimble, Kimberly Works; and a nephew, Jay Blackburn.
Sturgeon served in WWII in the Pacific Theater and returned to Mobile, where he had been stationed, to marry Mary Sands and help manage his father-in-law’s small elevator company, Mobile Elevator Company. In the decades following the war, he built the company, founded the Mobile IUEC local 124, and eventually sold Mobile Elevator Company to Montgomery Elevator. In that time, he also helped found the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) where he served as a director, volunteer Executive Director and eventually President, and started ELEVATOR WORLD magazine (1953).
As editor of EW, Sturgeon traveled the world from China to Germany, to Italy and India and South America and he built a network of correspondents. He helped found the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA), the National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities (NAESA) and the British Lift Association, while assisting other magazines around the world that were starting to flourish. Continuing over the years in his quest for expanded cohesiveness and communication in the industry, he grew EW, worked with NEIEP on education of mechanics, and interviewed every major leader in the industry. In the early 1980s he conceived of the Bridgebuilders, a group of association leadership who could communicate with one another and cooperate on industry issues. From this group, the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation was created, and Sturgeon served as the first campaign chair.
He worked with his daughter, Ricia, for 30 years and lived to see his grandson join the company and grow in his footsteps, an enormous path to follow. After his retirement in 1997 he created the only online museum for the elevator industry at www.theelevatormuseum.org. He continued to write for the magazine well into retirement. Sturgeon lived a rich and rewarding life, enjoying his family and a wealth of friends in many countries and in the elevator industry. He recently completed and published his memoir, More Ups Than Downs, a story of the life and times in which he lived.
Sturgeon’s wishes were to be cremated and scattered in the Pacific, where he served in the war and witnessed the first atom bomb test. There will be a memorial service held in Mobile, Al. for family and close friends. Sturgeon asked that memorials in his name be donated to the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation, 362 Pinehill Dr., Mobile, AL 36606; www.eesf.org.”
Statement provided courtesy of Elevator World