Finding his pace at Case


July 8, 1922, to November 5, 2022

Finding his pace at Case

A whirlwind on campus, centenarian Ted Stirgwolt never stopped seizing the day. When he died at age 100, those who loved him recalled his enduring zest for life.

In 1943, with the nation at war, nearly 40 percent of the senior class at the Case School of Applied Science enrolled in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which prepared students for the officer corps and sea duty.


As Case’s V-12 unit marched smartly across the Quad, probably no one was surprised to see Ted Stirgwolt ’43 leading the formation.  He was the senior class president, pony back on the football team, and owner of the vintage Ford Model T that was recognized all over campus.


“A hearty fellow with a big smile,” The Case Tech described the leader of the V-12 unit in 1943. Stirgwolt retained that effervescence for a lifetime. Upon his death in November at age 100, family members remarked upon his enduring zest for life.


“He lived not only a long life but a healthy one and a happy one,” said Frances Stirgwolt, his wife of 73 years. “He was busy every day.”


Gary Stirgwolt, the second of Ted and Frances’ four children–and an engineer–said his dad would drive three hours from his home in Massachusetts up to Maine to go skiing by himself— “This was in his 90s!”


“He loved Case,” he added. “He loved being an engineer.”


A native of Lakewood, Ohio, Stirgwolt was one of hundreds of Case graduates who put off a civilian career to join the armed forces in the 1940s. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, he finished accelerated officer training at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.


Commissioned a lieutenant JG, he shipped out from California with the Third Fleet, which fought and won several battles in the Far East and Pacific Islands.


After the war, he earned his master’s degree at the University of Michigan and joined General Electric as an engineer focused on jet engine design. His 38-year career with GE took him from Lynn, Massachusetts, to Evandale, Ohio, to Toulouse, France.


During his first week in Lynn, he met Frances Chandler at a dance the company arranged for new hires. They were engaged six months later and married on January 2, 1949.


With GE, Stirgwolt was a key member of the team that developed the CF6 engine and was the program manager for the TF34 applications on the Navy S-3A and the Army’s A-10, Gary Stirgwolt said. Most notably, he was the GE site representative who helped launch the first Airbus aircraft – the A300. From 1982-1985, he led GE Aviation’s programs in Toulouse, France.


“Toulouse was the crescendo of his GE career, and he loved every minute of it,” Gary Stirgwolt said.


Throughout his life he biked, hiked and sailed, typically rising at 5 a.m. to seize the day, his son said. There was a stack of books beside his bed and an array of tools in a garage that could barely contain his projects.


He died a centenarian in Salem, Massachusetts, on November 5, 2022. It’s unlikely any of his classmates survived him—but no doubt none would be surprised to learn that Ted Stirgwolt embraced life to the fullest for as long as he could.



Ted Stirgwolt, 1943

“He lived not only a long life but a healthy one and a happy one."

Ted Stirgwolt, right, had a seat of honor when Cleveland Mayor Frank Lausche addressed the senior class banquet in 1943.

Ted Stirgwolt, lower left, leads the V-12 unit across campus in 1943.