Just one day after his 51st birthday, Mesa’s Peter Sterling lost his four-year-long battle with cancer on Friday morning, July 8. He was surrounded by his family.
Sterling was hired as the Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s president and chief executive officer in January of 2011, after the retirement of Charlie Deaton. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2012.
“When Peter joined the chamber in 2011, the ‘Voice of Business’ in Mesa got louder! Peter worked with staff to reset the stage for the Mesa Chamber and led in engaging the chamber in the community,” said current Mesa Chamber President/CEO Sally Harrison.
“Watching my friend, Peter, fight this battle has been difficult, but, he did so with such grace,” Harrison continued. “His upbeat personality, his determination, and his big smile made this hero one to admire. Not many people going through a life-changing experience like brain cancer would stop to text and ask, ‘How’s the chamber doing today, or I saw some posts about your event. Keep up the good work.’ Peter was so supportive, such a cheerleader for the chamber and such a good friend. I will miss him very much!”
It was evident that Sterling loved his city, his wife, two children and four dogs. He would be the first to tell everyone how important they were to him. On March 15, 2015, Sterling posted on his Facebook page: “Today is the Ides of March when the soothsayer told Julius Caesar, ‘Beware the Ides of March.’ Three years ago today, my soothsayer (our dog George) warned me on the Ides of March that things were brewing. Four days later they took my brain out. So when your dog warns as Julius Caesar’s soothsayer did, beware (thank you William Shakespeare for the warning).”
Harrison added: “Everyone watched his fight, but also saw his determination and that big, big smile – he was always the first to ask how everyone else was. He loved his family and friends so very much.”
A Celebration of Life for Peter Sterling is scheduled for 6 p.m. next Wednesday, July 20, at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa, 1011 W. Holmes Ave., in Mesa. Dessert will follow the celebration.
In lieu of flowers, Sterling’s wife, Megan, has asked that donations be made in Peter’s name to the Mesa Chamber Business in Education Foundation, 40 N. Center St., Suite 104, Mesa, Arizona, 85201. The Mesa Chamber of Commerce has established the Peter Sterling Memorial Scholarship in his honor.
“Peter was an incredibly brave man and blessing to our city and all who knew him,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said. “Watching the way he handled things the past few years has been inspiring. He was a fighter and lived life to the fullest. He will be missed by all of us and our deepest condolences go to his beloved wife and children.”
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.