Sterling Preston Tignor

May 6, 1932April 10, 2018
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Sterling P. Tignor, M.D. passed away peacefully in his home on April 10, 2018. His daughter Cynthia Borgani of São Paulo, Brazil was by his side.

Sterling was born in Washington, D.C. on May 6, 1932, the son of Public School Teachers. He graduated with high honors from Dunbar High School where he was a leader in the Cadet Corps. Immediately after high school, he entered Yale University earning a bachelor’s degree in 1953. In his junior year at Yale, he was voted by the Fellows of Davenport College as the student most likely to succeed.

Following graduation from Yale, he studied medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1957. He completed his surgical residency at Boston City Hospital in 1962.

He served as a captain in the United States Army Surgical Corps, practicing at Valley Forge General Hospital in Pennsylvania. He was honorably discharged in 1964.

He completed a fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in 1967 following which he became board certified in Thoracic Surgery. He joined a group practice in Kokomo, Indiana later becoming board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He also taught surgery as a faculty member of the Indiana University School of Medicine beginning in 1981. He served one term as the President of the Indiana College of Surgeons.

He was proud of the work he did in Kokomo, his bonds with colleagues in the medical field, his opportunities to touch others’ lives and the way they touched his. One wing of the local hospital bears his name.

He loved photography, classical music, wood-work, and especially travel in his motor home. He was also an accomplished motorcycle enthusiast and was the proud owner of several motorcycles. He always spoke happily of his trips and the many people who rode with him.

His wife of 58 years - Mary Steffen Tignor - died January 12, 2017. He is survived by his brother Gregory (Eleanor); his daughters Suzanne Goodwin; Cynthia Borgani (Sidnei); his son Martin Tignor (Lisa), and six grandchildren, Steven Tignor, Stephanie Borgani, Wesley Borgani, Emily Borgani, Christian Goodwin, and Michael Goodwin.

Family will welcome friends Saturday, April 14 from 3-7pm at Sunset Memory Garden Funeral Home, 2097 W. Alto Road, Kokomo, IN 46902. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Kokomo YMCA at


  • Wake Saturday, April 14, 2018

Sterling Preston Tignor

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David Ross

May 17, 2018

I worked with Dr. Tignor for many years at Howard Community.
It took me several years to learn of his extraordinary surgical talent and skill.
He was truly a superb surgeon and a wonderful guy.
Several years ago I met a famous surgeon who happened to train with Sterling at Sloan Kettering.
He told me some history of this person as a young man.
As a colleague he was always funny, calm, in charge.
It was my pleasure to work with him.
They simply do not make physicians like him anymore.

Mike Wilson

April 16, 2018

I had the privilege of growing up next door to our good friends, the Tignors. Out of many good memories, I especially cherish two that come to mind whenever I think of Doc.

When I was 13 or 14 years old my dad, my grandfather, Doc, and a couple other adults took me rabbit hunting on my grandfather’s farm. Someone got a rabbit and was about to field dress it when Doc said, “Wait a minute.” He took the rabbit and gave me an anatomy lesson on the spot… pointing out each of the organs and explaining how they all worked together. After a few chuckles from some of the adults, I noticed they were all watching with interest over his shoulder! Over the years, whenever he would patch me up from some reckless youthful activity of mine, he would use the same care explaining what he was doing and why… always with gentleness.

The other time that comes to mind was when I returned home as an adult to visit Mom & Dad after several years away. I saw Doc in his front yard and walked over to say hello. His smiled and when his eyes shifted up to my hair, he started chucking. I never really figured out if he saw the humor in the short length (I wore it long when I was young) or in the amount of gray that had settled onto my head. Either way, we both enjoyed a few moments of laughter and fellowship.

This past Saturday, Doc’s brother Gregory gave a eulogy that explained Doc’s earliest drive to help people through medical practice. He did an exquisite job describing Doc’s love for people, love for family, his gentleness, care, and how he persevered through loss. From my view, it was perfect.

Doc’s (and Mary’s) legacy lives on through three wonderful children Marty, Cynthia, and Suzie. You are much more to us than neighbors. Call on me any time.

Angela Harris

April 16, 2018

I am so deeply sorry for your great loss. Although I didn't know Dr. Tignor personally, I wish I had known him when I had to have previous surgeries. He certainly was a wonderful and caring doctor who made others feel at ease. I know he will be missed by all those whose lives he touched and so, I look forward with his family and all those who knew him and loved him to seeing him again according to God's marvelous promise of a resurrection hope. (John 5:25, 28,29; 6:40; Psalms 37:29)

Teri Weaver

April 13, 2018

What a Gentleman!! Respectful,Calming,Intelligent,Kind, Hard working Person!!Excellant Surgeon,Professor,Teacher.
What a difference he has made in so many lives.His family,friends,coworkers,partners,students,patients&familys. What a Blessed Kokomo Community !!
Well Done ! I’m sure he has heard since leaving this earth. Unforgettable❤️

Shirley Leclair

April 12, 2018

I felt the lump in my breast on Halloween night. I made the appt to see Dr. Tignor and he did the mastectomy and reconstruction and come to find out I was his first patient in Kokomo for the reconstruction!! He usually did this surgery at the Med center in Indy. He was so pleased with the results that he called another doc into my room to see the results.!!!! He was a fine man. RIP Dr. Tignor........

Beth Fitzgerald

April 12, 2018

Lora Burke-Mulkey

April 12, 2018

When Drs. Desanto and Seekri were new to his practice they all three cared for my daughter before, during, and after emergency surgery. With her disease she is a complex patient. Watching Dr. Tignor teach, guide, and mentor Drs. Desanto and Seekri was amazing. He was so patient, respectful, and all the while sharing his vast knowledge. You never got the impression he was showing off his years of experience or knowledge, you only saw a man who wanted to motivate others to be all they could be. He also gave credit where credit was due, he told us that Dr. Desanto following her gut instinct, coming back to the hospital to take Emily to surgery in the middle of the night saved her life. All three had done her surgery and Dr. Tignor said Emily would have been dead had we waited till morning. He gave all the credit to Dr. Desanto, praised her right there in front of all of us, including her! This showed me he was humble, a good mentor, and a man I wanted guiding our newer surgeons along! A rare man he was, a magnificent angel he is!

Lora Burke-Mulkey

April 12, 2018

My mother had been in great pain, we ended up in ER where they thought she had a dissecting aneurysm. They sent us to Dr. Tignor, he took one look and reassured us it wasn't, it was a big gall stone. When he was asking my mom about past surgeries she replied she had had none. He excitedly asked You are a virgin? I laughed saying not a question I thought someone would ask my mom right in front of me. He laughed and laughed! After her surgery he comes to talk to us girls, all excited, like a kid on Christmas morning telling us it was a huge gall stone, the biggest one he had ever removed. He said he asked to keep it (popping his bottom lip out) he said they told him no he couldn't keep it! He said it was so big he wanted to take it out to the golf course, put it on a tee, and watch his friend's faces. His humor and childlike excitement really made us girls relax and took away all our fear about our mother. I really appreciated and loved his attitude about life ....the good, the bad, and the ugly....although I am pretty sure he didn't see ugly in that golf ball sized gall stone! A good man, a role model, a good Doctor! Love, Peace, Happiness, and my prayers to his family and friends who I know he thought of as family!

Edmond Strange

April 12, 2018

Doctor Tignor was one of the doctors in the clinic where my wife's first job was. He was always very nice to us. We even mowed his yard and took care of his plants one time while his family was on vacation. Sorry for your loss.

Stephanie Orr

April 12, 2018

I’m sorry for your loss. I will never forget the night in the ER when Dr Tignor walked to the ER and saved my grandmas life. He wasn’t supposed to be there he was just checking on things and my grandma had had a procedure done in Indianapolis and was bleeding out and there was no time to get her back to Indy in time so he look at my grandma and said I can save your life trust me. He was an amazing man.