/Students and colleagues mourn loss of beloved instructor
Lisa Sturtridge, Adjunct Theatre Discipline Instructor. Photo Credit: Twana Pinskey

Students and colleagues mourn loss of beloved instructor

Students and colleagues, along with the cast and crew of the SC4 production of “Fool for Love,” grieve the loss of Adjunct Theatre Discipline Instructor, Lisa Sturtridge.

Lisa Sturtridge, Adjunct Theatre Discipline Instructor. Photo Credit: Twana Pinskey
Lisa Sturtridge, Adjunct Theatre Discipline Instructor. Photo Credit: Twana Pinskey

Sturtridge was doing what she loved best, helping her students perfect the craft of stage makeup and preparing for a show when she died on Oct. 10, 2011.

Sturtridge lived in Port Huron and was an adjunct faculty member of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at SC4, where she taught Fundamentals of Stage Makeup and Fundamentals of Theatre at SC4.

She had been the costume designer working on numerous Theatre Discipline productions at SC4 since 2004. She had worked in professional and academic theatre for more than 30 years.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in technical theatre with a costume and lighting design emphasis from Michigan State University, and a master’s degree in costume design and dramatic literature from Emerson College in Boston. She also had designed costumes for Port Huron Civic Theatre.

As news of Sturtridge’s passing spread, students, faculty and colleagues paused to remember Sturtridge.

Shawn Starkey, Executive Director of SC4 Publics Relations, said grief counselors were made available to students, colleagues and faculty.

“We are in shock, she was a well respected and cared about instructor,” said Starkey. “Our prayers and sympathies go out to her family, friends and students during this difficult time.”

Adjunct Instructor for the Visual and Performing Arts, and Drama Club Adviser, Tom Kephart, shared an office with Sturtridge and was working with her on the SC4 production of “Fool for Love” at the time of her death.

Kephart first met Sturtridge when he did the SC4 show, “Christmas Belles” three years ago. He said they spent a lot of time together since they shared an office.

“It’s just really weird to know she is not going to walk through the door anymore,” said Kephart. “The thing I admired most about Lisa is how she cared, really cared about the students at SC4.”

Kephart said former students have been calling and stopping in since her death, asking what they can do to help. Kephart felt this was a testimony to how students past and present felt about Sturtridge.

“Fool for Love” cast member Christian Jones, from St. Clair, SC4 sophomore and liberal arts major, shared his fondest memory of Sturtridge from the SC4 Drama Club production of “Welcome to the Moon.”

Jones’ character was a poet.

Sturtridge looked at him and wondered what to do for a costume. As a joke, Jones asked her for a Mozart wig and vest from that time period. According to Jones, she said she could do that and left coming back with a Mozart wig and period vest.

“She (Sturtridge) said I didn’t think anyone would ever ask for this in a million years,” shared Jones while laughing. “And of course she had it.”

Sound crew member from “Fool for Love,” SC4 student Alyssa Ferri, a veterinary major from Cass City, shared how Sturtridge loved her job and was always there for her students.

“She impacted everyone she knew,” said Ferri. “She had a way of touching everyone’s heart and she never forgot about her students.”

Kephart expressed similar sentiments. “It was her (Sturtridge) only constant, coming in here and working with the students is what made it worthwhile for her.”

There will be a memorial service honoring Lisa Oct.28th, at 3p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

Twana Pinskey