Walter D. Sturm

In Memoriam

Dr. Walter D. Sturm

(BEd, DAcu, PhD, HMD)

* November 23, 1944     † July 5, 2004

Walter was a big bear of a guy with a heart of gold. “The boss” … He loved life, lived it very full, and has without question left his mark on this planet. He was kind and passionate in a Walter sort of way. He pushed boundaries and accepted challenges, and to paraphrase another famous person – “went where no others have gone before”. (Star Trek’s James T. Kirk – were you expecting Shakespeare?).

Walter led a very full life with each and every year different than the last. He chose not to live life in the slow lane or to take the safe course whether it was his early days racing cars, tuning pianos and playing the saxophone, or his choice in his life’s work. Walter did not accept a status quo. He was always striving to learn more, to question “truths”.

It is somewhat ironic that he started his adult life handing out music scores and teaching the meaning of cadence to young minds, and then ended up dedicating his life to doing everything but following the score. From Edmonton, to Toronto, to Montreal, to Miami, to San Francisco, to Vancouver and then finally here in Penticton he chose a path that had no sign posted, no map and no final destination. The pursuit of truth and learning never ended.

This was so for music, arts, politics, business, and of course his greatest passion – medicine. Walter believed that the real truth was not always served up to us on a platter, but rather hidden below the surface. That the veneer the masses saw only hid what was really going on. Walter’s obsession was uncovering and peeling the layers off those truths – whether it was with foreign affairs or a patient.

Oh yes, Walter certainly had his opinions and what some may call radical ideals – although they were usually hard to get out of him due to his “shy” nature. It takes a brave man to constantly go out on a limb. But these ideals and opinions made him what he was. The world lost a free thinker, someone who thought outside the box. Walter was willing to take risks and push boundaries – and that is a rare resource in these times.

If we can all take away a bit of Walter and be a little more inquisitive, a bit more doubting, a little more daring, and maybe just a little less concerned about the status quo and what others will think, then I believe that some of Walter’s purpose on this planet will have been filled. That is a lasting legacy that cannot be bought – only earned.

I have always admired people who have tried to make a difference and dedicated their lives to that. Whether it is teaching, raising a family or pursuing some kind of magic bullet, it is the pursuit in and of itself that defines a person. In Walter and Carolyn I found myself admiring their dedication, perseverance and passion. It has helped shape my life – for which I thank you both.

I want everyone to think about the brave manner in which Walter died and lived. We all have been lucky enough to meet a rare person – one that beat to a different drummer than the rest of us. While we may not have the opportunity – as Walter did – to introduce acupuncture to the masses, or the VEGA machine to North America, or train hundreds and hundreds of doctors new and exciting boundary-pushing modalities or techniques, or organize innumerable group tours to Germany to spread knowledge to other doctors, who then themselves went out and touched hundreds of other lives – we do have the ability to live our lives a little more on the edge and to keep his spirit alive.

Carolyn asked me to say a few words at the Memorial Service in honor of Walter and I immediately said, “Yes”. I said yes recognizing it would be my one and only chance to get the last word in, while in the same room as Walter. Walter was a truly rare and unique person. The world will be a much lesser place without his contrarian and questioning approach to life. Walter, thank you for touching mine.

Bruce Velestuk
Colleague and Friend

Please follow this link to see some of Dr. Sturm’s contributions to the field of Biological Medicine.

A Memorial Prepared for OIRF Members & Supporters
From THE BRIDGE Newsletter of OIRF
Initially published shortly after the passing of Dr. Sturm

© Copyright 2004, Occidental Institute, BC Canada

Bruce Velestuk, CMA
These final words for “the Boss” were written by Bruce on the occasion of the final service for Walter. Bruce was an integral part of OIRF and an advisor to both Walter and Carolyn from the time of our return to Canada in 1984. He aided OIRF as a Member of our Board of Directors during the mid- and late 1980s, was a valuable ISO and Health Canada advisor, a Financial and Business Advisor, and Carolyn’s “brother-cousin”.

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