Posted by Craig Buhrendorf

Rollie Sterrett was raised in North Haven, Connecticut and graduated from Williston Academy, a boarding school in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He graduated Colgate University in 1965 with a major in political science. As an undergraduate, Rollie was on the varsity swim team and a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He took Air Force ROTC and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at graduation.

In the USAF, Rollie was trained as an air intelligence officer (at Lowery AFB, Denver, Colorado), assigned to the Directorate of Targets at 7th Air Force Headquarters (Tan Son Nhut AB, Saigon) and after one year, in 1967, was assigned to the underground Command Post at Strategic Air Command Headquarters (Offutt AFB, Omaha, Nebraska). His duty assignments were as a daily intelligence/operations briefing officer at the Commanding General level, including USAF General William Momyer (Commander 7AF), USA General William Westmoreland (Commander US Forces, Vietnam), and USAF General Bruce Holloway (SAC Commander). Rollie separated from the Air Force as a captain in 1970.

Upon returning to Connecticut, Rollie was appointed by Governor Thomas J. Meskill as Executive Director of the Connecticut Planning Committee on Criminal Administration, a state agency with an annual budget of $10 to $12 million for grant distributions to state and local police, prisons, and the court system.

Last on his career path, Rollie joined his younger brother Cliff in a startup financial services agency in Canton within the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, providing insurance, financial planning, and investment products. Rollie retired in 2015 after forty years with the agency.

Rollie and his first wife Grace had two children, Kimberly and Reid. He married Karen in 1985 and they joined her and her three children, Tim and twins Andy and Korey. Today his “wonderful Brady Bunch” family has nine grandchildren from Connecticut to Boston to Salt Lake City.

Rollie joined Rotary in the summer of 1978 which “proudly” makes him the longest continuous serving member in the club. When he joined, Bob Cave was president, there were thirty-five members (all male), and the club’s annual budget was $3,500 which causes Rollie to exclaim: “Wow! - Look where we are today!” Rollie has had the honor of serving in all club officer positions and is most proud of having chaired the Youth Exchange Committee for many years. During this time, the club hosted two to four foreign exchange students annually, each for a full year, while we sent an equal number of Avon and Canton students overseas. The inbound students lived with Avon and Canton families, attended the local high schools and fully participated in the local community - “a wonderful Club program!”

In addition to his nine grandchildren, Rollie’s interests include fly fishing from Canada to Venezuela, snowshoeing (he’s formerly a snow skier), and actively supporting Colgate sports and scholarships (he co-founded a Colgate financial aid scholarship). Outside of Rotary, Rollie is a member of the Hop Meadow Country Club, the Granby YMCA and the Trinity Episcopal Church in Tariffville, Connecticut.

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