SIOUX FALLS, S.D. Jack Sturdevant, CEO of Sturdevant’s Auto Parts and SAE Automotive Warehouse, died Sept. 29, after a year-long battle with his health. He was 83 years old.
Jack joined National Pronto Association in 1980 and was one of the initial board of directors for the group. "He was very instrumental in our early success and truly supported Pronto," wrote Pronto President Bill Maggs in a statement about Sturdevant’s passing. "Jack was honored by Pronto on Sept. 13, 2001, as a founding member and Pronto Pioneer." Maggs went on to note how much Jack loved the business and was active in his company up until the final days preceding his death.
"He was a great man and accomplished just about everything he set his mind to," said his son, Tim Sturdevant.
Jack was born on a farm in Yutan, Neb., on May 21, 1929, to Arvid "Art" and Lola Sturdevant. In 1932, the family, including his sister Beverlee, moved to Pipestone, Minn., where Art opened an automotive repair shop called Sturdevant Auto Electric – SAE. In high school, Jack excelled in track, football and basketball. After high school graduation in 1947, he headed to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis to play football under coach Bernie Bierman. In 1948, his sophomore year, he played left half-back for the Gophers. There were high hopes for his future in athletics, but in May of 1949, an automobile accident ended his football career. In 1950, he returned to Pipestone, Minn., to work with his father. In 1951, he married Nadine "Toddy" Grill, who he’d met on a blind date for homecoming in 1948. Jack worked hard, gradually starting to sell automotive parts. His brother-in-law Joe Kennedy drove the 1938 panel truck to dealers in the area. In 1971, he expanded to Sioux Falls and continued to grow Sturdevant’s and SAE Warehouse. Jack loved hunting and waterfowl and was a life sponsor of Ducks Unlimited. His family, business and Labrador "Pal," were his focal points.
Jack and Toddy had four children, Sally Sturdevant (Larry Hogan) Hendersonville, N.C.; Ann Nichols (Patrick) Blair, Neb.; John Sturdevant (Michele) and Tim Sturdevant (Nancee). Both sons live in Sioux Falls, S.D. There are 12 grandchildren: Troy, Lafe, Rory, Jessica, Kimberly, Jill, Charles, Joey, Sydney, Griffin, Ashlee and Max; plus seven great-grandchildren, Lola, Claire, Jude, Jai, Cohen, Cole and Ella Ann.
A memorial gathering for family, friends and associates was held on Oct. 6, at Sturdevant’s Headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D.