Glen Dodson Sturges, 91, of Tucson, died April 2, in Tucson.
Mr. Sturges was a farmer who carved a 156-acre farm out of a tough patch of desert near Yuma, Ariz.
A strapping figure who was into health and fitness long before the craze exploded into popular culture, Mr. Sturges was as indefatigable as the desert where he spent more than 40 years coaxing alfalfa, cotton and other crops out of the ground. He worked 400 acres -- his farm and a neighboring relative's -- until he was nearly 80, and served as the landlord of his farm until he was 88, when he decided to sell and finally retire.
Born in 1912, Mr. Sturges spent his youth in the spirit of the frontier -- hunting, trapping and ranging through the Arizona wilderness on horseback -- learning to make a living from the land.
He spent his summers working on his uncle's farm in Yuma, an experience that shaped his life's ambition and inspired him to study business and agriculture at the University of Arizona, where, in 1952, he graduated and helped pioneer the school's agri-business degree.
Although he was the salutatorian of his graduating class at Marana High School, his trip to college was derailed several times -- first by the Depression, later by World War II.
During World War II, he joined the First Marine Division, learned to speak fluent Japanese and was shipped to the South Pacific to serve as a gunnery sergeant.
He is survived by his daughter, Stephanie Diane Sturges of Rancho Bernardo, Calif.; one sister, Kathryn J. Loftfield of Payson.; three nieces, Judy (Brenda) Whitehouse of Phoenix, Anne Loftfield of Tucson and Debbie J. Savoie of California; three nephews, Roger (Monica) Loftfield of Napa, Calif., Robert "Byron" (Pat) Barrett of Grand Junction, Colo. and Dave Mason of Los Gatos, Calif.; and numerous grandnephews and grandnieces.
He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Jane French Sturges; son, John Henry Sturges, parents, Clyde A. Sturges and Fannie "Frances" J. Dodson Sturges Milligan; two brothers, George and John; and two sisters, Eugenia "Jean" Barrett and Lou Sturges.
A memorial service will be at 5:30 p.m. April 17 at the Church of the Holy Nativity, 1414 N. Easy Street in Payson.