MELROSE – Mr. Robert D. Sturgeon, 39, promoter of three popular Orlando shows, was killed early yesterday [June 10, 1960] when his convertible went off the road near here, struck a ditch and turned over.
A passenger, John McDowall, 22, Army man from Gainesville, Sturgeon’s nephew, was in critical condition in a Gainesville hospital. He underwent surgery yesterday for internal injuries and a broken left arm.
The accident occurred two miles south of here on State Rd. 21, near Sturgeon’s home at Santa Fe Lake Shores.
Putnam County Dep. Jimmy Price said the left rear tire on Sturgeon’s auto blew out, sending the car skidding off the left side of the highway, then back across the road sideways where it hit a ditch and turned over.
Price said Sturgeon was killed almost instantly. The victims were pinned under the auto until a wrecker arrived on the scene.
Sturgeon, head of Sturgeon Enterprises, had promoted home shows in various parts of the state.
During the past two years he has headed the highly successful Central Florida Home Show, Boat Show and Auto Expositions in Orlando.
During World War II, Sturgeon became a Marine and was later wounded twice engaged in combat in the South Pacific.
After being discharged from the Marines, he attended Michigan State College where he was a standout fullback for three seasons in the days before Michigan State joined the Big Ten Conference and later became a football powerhouse.
Following his graduation, Sturgeon associated with Lever Brothers as a salesman, rose to district sales manager, [and] later became a trouble shooter, moving to all parts of the country where Lever sales needed a push.
This brought him to Florida. He liked Florida so well that when Lever wanted him to move to a job in Buffalo he resigned and operated a private investigating service.
Later Sturgeon became a successful salesman and later sales manager for the Central Florida area with the Encyclopedia Americana. He later established Sturgeon Enterprises which specialized in the promotion and operation of home expositions and boat shows.
Last Monday, while visiting in the Sentinel offices, Sturgeon said he liked Orlando so much that he was selling his home on Lake Santa Fe and was going to become a full-time resident of Orlando.
He is survived by his wife, Jackie. Funeral services are pending. Burial will be in Orlando.