If you wanted to talk with Warren Sturm of Brooklyn Park outside of his office, you could probably find the electrical engineer and attorney working on a vehicle, rebuilding a major home appliance or fine-tuning one of his radio-controlled toys in his garage.
Sturm, a patent lawyer who was sought out by inventors for his technical and legal knowledge, died on June 26 in St. Louis Park.The longtime Edina and Brooklyn Park resident was 80.
Usually jobs took "zero trips" to the hardware store, said his son, Scott of Excelsior.
"He had everything in there," said his son.
Friends and family came to his garage for conversation or advice, whether it was about the law, how to fix a motor or the pros and cons of a particular sailboat design.
"We wound up learning a lot from him," his son said.
His children probably learned to speak up, too.
"He was quick-witted," his son said. "He tended to thrive on a bit of controversy.
"He would have firm opinions and a concise, clear assessment of what he liked or disliked."
He grew up in Wauwatosa, Wis. After serving in the Army, he received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin.
Next came a stint at Honeywell in Minneapolis; then he entered private practice.
He did a lot of patent work on citizen-band radio developments in the 1970s, and helped inventors file patents for technology such as communication devices, aeronautical equipment and taconite drilling equipment.
Frank Klima of Virginia Minn., a client for 33 years, invented an electro-mechanical drill control unit and drill bits to cut into taconite.
"He was exceptional in grasping what I was trying to do," and was especially helpful in writing the explanation of the electrical component of his drill control unit, Klima said.
When starting out, Klima was thin on cash, but Sturm took a chance on his client, rooting for his success, and taking a promise of royalties on the invention.
He slowed his practice in the late 1980s, but worked until 2002.
Sturm was a lifelong sailor, competing in sailboat races on Lake Okauchee in Wisconsin, and, after moving to the Twin Cities, on Lake Harriet.
In retirement, he enjoyed ocean sailing in Florida, often out of the Keys.
In addition to Scott, he is survived by his wife, Carol A. of Brooklyn Park; his other sons, Warren of Charlotte, N.C., Jeff of Fox River Grove, Ill.; daughter, Ann Sturm of Plymouth; former wife, Carol W. Sturm of Charlotte, N.C.; sister, Carol Jensen of Okauchee, Wis.; stepsons, Chuck Holscher of Plymouth, Randy Holscher of Champlin; stepdaughter, Roxy Shellum of Brooklyn Park, and 14 grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesdayat Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel, Historic Fort Snelling, Hwys. 5 and 55, Fort Snelling. Friends may gather at 10 a.m.