He was born to Betty and Bob Sterling in Columbus, Georgia in 1951 and lived part of his early life in Heidelberg, Germany where is father was stationed and where Rod spoke mainly German. He was a graduate of Columbus High and attended both Samford College in Birmingham and Georgia State in Atlanta. He studied and read every day of his life and, in turn, educated all of those around him.
As a very young boy, only eight, he saved his mother in a kitchen fire. Due to his quick action and bravery, he won the award for heroism from Governor Vandiver and travelled all over Georgia to speak to school children about fire safety. Even at that young age, he never had a fear of speaking to large groups.
He began working at five years old selling papers on the base at Fort Benning. That job began a journey of hard work that would carry on his entire life. His career in his chosen industry, the pool and spa business began in 1970, when he got a job as a janitor at the BioLab chemical manufacturing plant. From that role, he worked his way up to launching and becoming president of the BioLab Network (BLN), a pool and spa distribution company that later became a part of the largest pool distributor in the world.
When he left BioLab in the mid 1990s, he embarked on what became a very successful business consulting career, where he had the pleasure of working with companies worth hundreds of millions as well as companies just getting their start. But his passion that defined his career was helping family-held businesses grow and thrive. His focus was getting those owners and families what they wanted. He had an innate understanding of people and their motivations, which made him great at what he did. He was considered an icon in his industry and spoke all over the world.
Rod was a leader, and truly a mentor, to countless men and women in his industry. There are thousands of families that have been positively impacted by his work and guidance.
There are five hundred million stories that could be told about Rod…and most would be true. He had a personality that has been referred to as larger than life. A born Southern-storyteller, he could always be counted on to entertain all of those around him, whether at a party or at work. Rod had a way with people.
He rarely called anyone by their actual name. All were subject to whatever nickname he assigned, to better suit who he saw them to be. When Rod came along, his mother-in-law was no longer Leonor. She became Mama Rubio to all.
He loved to travel with family and friends. He appreciated great food and drink, always willing to share with all. And he loved University of Georgia football and cried tears of joy with his son when they won the National Championship. He loved deeply…especially his family and friends.
Rod married the love of his life, Ana Rubio Sterling, in 1982, who survives him. He is also survived by his son Gabriel and his wife Caroline, along with his brothers Mike and Steve with his wife Michelle, and his dogs Tucker and Emma. He will be deeply missed.
There will be a visitation on Sunday, August 28 at the H.M. Patterson-Arlington Chapel at 173 Allen Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. The church service will be held on Monday, August 29, at 2:30pm at the Church of the Redeemer at 5185 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30342. From the service we will proceed to Arlington Memorial Park at 201 Mount Vernon Highway, NW, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 for the graveside burial at 4:00pm.
Rod married the love of his life, Ana Rubio Sterling, in 1982, who survives him. He is also survived by his son Gabriel and his wife Caroline, along with his brothers Mike and Steve with his wife Michelle, and his dogs Tucker and Emma.