Jeff Sterner–Cha Nun Yong –“Buckshot”– A Memorial Service from Art Moffat



Jeff Sterner —Cha Nun Yong—“Buckshot”

A Memorial Service

May 5, 2014


Art Moffat

Ray Gaydos said to me one time, “Jeff’s life was really a miracle.” Through which Ray meant, a sequence of miracles.

I knew Jeff through tennis. One afternoon, after we had finished playing — probably after Jeff had beaten me on the court, he told me some of his story. His history.

He became an orphan during the Korean conflict. He didn’t know what to do, He didn’t know where to go, he didn’t know where to get food. Not meals, just food.

I remember my grandmother saying, every time we went to her house, “Eat all of your food, Artie, there are starving Korean children who have nothing to eat.” Meaning — remember and don’t waste food it is precious and in particular to those who don’t have it. I still practice that.

I never dreamed that I would ever, ever get to know one of those starving Korean children.  Let alone become a friend of one.

So Cha Nun Young, a young boy, wandered into a U.S. Army base in Korea. And the miracle began.

Jeff said to me that day on the bench, “The G.I’s took me in. They became my family. Fed me, clothed me, took care of this orphan boy.”

They nicknamed Cha Nun Yong, “Buckshot.” Probably because they couldn’t remember “Cha Nun Yong.” They began to “Americanize “ him with a nickname and with some English words.

With American kindness, Christian kindness, for an orphan boy. James 1:27 says,

“Be kind and generous to the widows and orphans.”

Back in Bible Times there was no Social Security or pensions. The widows and the orphans were in a very perilous situation of life. This was the situation in Korea in the early ’50’s. The G.I.’s remembered,

“Be kind and generous to the widows and orphans.”

The miracle continued. The GI’s put Buckshot under their shelter. Their care. And Jeff said to me, “That base with those GI’s became my home. They saved my life.”

Jeff was always so appreciative of those who had had a part in his life. In one scripture Jesus says,

“I will never leave your nor forsake you.”

One of those G I’s brought Jeff to the United States — California. A man named Owen Sterner. Buckshot, a boy from Korea, took on the Sterner last name and Owen became his middle name.

Cha Nun Yong who became Buckshot was now in California, USA, Jeffery Owen Sterner.

And the miracle continued.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Around 1964, Jeff was taken in by Tom and Polly Strayer of Johnstown, PA.

I said to Polly, “How was it that you took Jeff into your home? She said, “He came to our home one day and asked if he could live with us. I said, “What did you say?,” “We said sure.” Just like that!

They had Jeff admitted to Johnstown High as a Junior at age 19. He had limited English.

Jeff said on that tennis court to me, “The Strayers took me. They we’re so kind to me.” He emphasized , KIND. And at 21 he graduated from High School. He had to have been the oldest member of his graduating class. Then he said, “I went to Pitt and then to Chiropractic College, then opened an office in Johnstown, and here I am.” Very Jeff like.

I was sitting beside and talking with an amazing story. Something out of a novel. Something that could have been an inspirational movie. I was listening to a continued miracle.

Jeff was always so humble of heart, joyful, a true friend who never stopped knowing how to be a friend. Jeff really enjoyed his Chiropractic practice, tennis, nutrition and so many other interests. But, Jeff never put career or sports above friendships.

And he was the master of the unexpected. Several years ago our phone rang.

“Art, this is Jeff, Jeff Sterner.” That is what he aways said.
“Hi Jeff.”
He said, “I’m in the grocery store. All the lights went out in here. It’s dark. So I just called to say hello. When are we going to play tennis next?”

Jeff wasn’t standing there with his shopping cart complaining about what he was going to do now that it’s pitch dark in the grocery store. Groceries in his cart. Some frozen. He made something of the moment. Something positive. That was Jeff.

Like the day he walked onto the G I army base
The day he walked on Pitt Campus
The day he walked into the Chiropractic College
And the day he opened his Chiropractic Clinic.

For Jeff’s life, the miracle continued.

About a month ago Jeff wanted to ask Jesus Christ into his life. He said he’d been missing something. And he realized that it was Jesus.

Ray had spoken to him.

Several days later, Jeff asked Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords into his life. Like that day Jeff told me his story on the tennis court bench, I was there on that day a month ago.

And I can say to all of you, at that moment, Jeff, almost in an instant, even in his pain, become the happiest person I have ever seen. In an instant.

I mean, there are no words.

This past Friday morning, Jeffrey Owen Sterner received his coronation. This new Christian, a former Korean orphan boy, who had walked onto the GI Army Base, now entered the Kingdom of Heaven into the outstretched arms of Jesus.

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

And the miracle continues.

Jesus Is Lord.

2 thoughts on “Jeff Sterner–Cha Nun Yong –“Buckshot”– A Memorial Service from Art Moffat”

  1. Such kindness, Jeff was a great man. I am his sister (Owen Sterner’s) daughter. Growing up there were several years difference between us so it wasn’t til much later in life that Jeff and I got to spend time. We learned a lot from each other the time we did spend and changed our lives for the better with an amazing unequivocal bond. He was so smart and still eager to learn. Our father was an extraordinary man whose love for others was immeasurable, And for that I am so thankful to have had the chance to have a brother so wonderful. I will miss him deeply. Love to all who knew him.

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