Paula Kay Sturdy, 60, illustrious sailor and yachtswoman

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Paula Kay Sturdy
Paula Kay Sturdy

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — Our world is mourning the loss of a supernova of a human being, Paula Kay Sturdy, 60, whose bright light bedazzled the lives of everyone around her with its beauty. She passed away in her home Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017.

Though born in Chicago, you would never know it by her bodacious southern charms and accent, boisterous laughter; a legacy of her mother, Joyce, a Wilmington native. At an early age, she acquired a love of the sea and all things mechanical from her industrious father, Harry D., who guided her to become an illustrious sailor and yachtswoman. She could practically dock her 38′ sport fishing boat, Reel Hot, with her eyes closed with only inches to spare.

A neatnik and a resourceful stickler for detail, she could diagnose engine problems, sew boat covers, build and repair just about anything while never chipping a perfectly manicured and color-coordinated fingernail.

Earning a B.S. in Business Administration from ECU, she became a die-hard Pirate’s fan and remained close to her Sigma Sigma Sigma sisters. Paula recently retired from Sturdy Corporation, a business founded by her father, currently co-owned by Paula and her brother and sister, where she worked for 36 years, most recently as purchasing director.

In 2002, she met her match, Van Marr at the Bluewater Grill, and they married in 2005, starting an adventure of a lifetime. Together, they strung together four consecutive winning entries in the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla parading the Real Hot like rock stars before cheering crowds on piers, bridges and balconies. On many summer weekends, they could be found hitched in huge raft-ups at Masonboro Island with their numerous close friends.

They were on the cusp of enjoying retirement with plans to travel widely on their newly acquired Mainship when fate far too soon and cruelly took her away. The world just got a little lonelier and less glittery without her in it, yet that incredible smile and generous laughter will always be remembered fondly by all of us who loved her. Rest in peace, sweet girl, until we meet again.

She was born in Chicago on Oct. 17, 1956, to the late Harry David Sturdy and Joyce Faircloth Sturdy. She is survived by her husband Van Marr; brother, David Ronald Sturdy, and his wife, Joni, and their daughter, Brooke; sister, Rhonda Dee Lynch, and her husband, “fast” Eddie, and their children, Cameron, and his wife, Lia, and Kimberly, and her husband, Ben; adopted mother, Betty Marr; and Van and Paula’s children, Adam Marr, and his wife, Heather, and their children, Braeden and Reese, Alan Marr, Jason Marr, and his wife, Lindsay, and their son, Parker, and daughter, Sarah Marr. Also, her ex-husband, Michael Jones, and myriad family and friends.

Visitation was held Sunday, Jan. 15, at Coble Ward-Smith Funeral Home, 3915 Oleander Drive, Wilmington. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16, at Southside Baptist Church, 3320 S. College Road, Wilmington.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, P.O. Box 713, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480.