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Sterling James Elza – November 25, 2017

Sterling James Elza, 43, died at noon on November 25, 2017 in Amarillo, Texas.  He passed away in a room filled with family and close friends. 
Memorial services will be at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church with The Rev. Dr. Robert Pace officiating. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
He was born September 4, 1974 in Amarillo to James and Gay Elza.    He was a graduate of Amarillo High School (1993), Rice University (1997) and the University of Houston Law Center (2000 Cum Laude).  Sterling played football at AHS and Rice, where he was on The Southwest Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.  After Law School, he joined the Ft. Worth law firm of Brown, Dean, Proctor & Howell, L.L.P. where he has practiced since 2000.  Sterling focused his law practice on representing Texas businesses, including insurance companies, railroads and construction companies.  He was honored over multiple years as a “Texas Rising Star” in the legal fields of Business Litigation and Insurance Coverage Law and as a Top Attorney in Tarrant County from 2013-17.  Sterling was recognized with the “Always a Sandie” Scholarship Award in 1992.
Sterling served as a volunteer with the Rice Admissions Office, was a Past President of Ballet Concerto, served on the Board of the Sanders Education Foundation, and was a long-time member of Trinity Episcopal Church (Ft. Worth) and St. Andrews Episcopal Church (Amarillo).
Sterling loved to travel, attend concerts and play music.  He had a large group of friends that he regularly traveled and spent time with.  He was a huge supporter of Rice Athletics.
Sterling is survived by his mother Gay Chalfant and Gailyn “Doc” Rodgers, father James Elza, two brothers: Slater C. Elza, wife Shanna Elza and nephew Sterling Elza and Sam Elza, wife Holly Elza and niece Chloe Elza.  He is also survived by his Uncle Jay Chalfant, and cousins Tim, Mike, Pat and Chris Chalfant and their families.  He had amazing friends, who are too numerous to list.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts in Sterling’s honor be designated to Rice University Athletic Scholarships.  To make a gift, please call 713-348-6922, or send a check, made out to Rice University, to: Rice University Department of Athletics MS-548, c/o Brian Mann, P.O. Box 1892, Houston Texas  77251.


  • Brad and Karen Douglas Posted November 26, 2017 11:38 am

    Offering prayers of comfort and healing for the family and friends of Sterling.

  • Charlotte Burgess Posted November 26, 2017 3:21 pm

    I am really shocked and saddened to hear of Sterling’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family!

  • Sharon McDonald Posted November 26, 2017 7:24 pm

    What a wonderfully full life Sterling led. He made so many contributions to so many. My prayers go with you.

  • Fred Sparkman Posted November 27, 2017 12:33 am

    Prayers for peace and comfort for you James and your family in this time of goodbyes and loving memories.

  • Jana Allen Griffin Posted November 27, 2017 3:12 am

    Sterling, your warm smile and big personality will be missed by so many. Much love and many prayers for your family and close friends.

  • Jeff McPherson and Family Posted November 27, 2017 3:40 am

    Such a great person. He will be remembered by all whom encountered him. Rest In Peace “Big Ster”. Prayers of comfort for the family!

  • Mary and Ronnie Walker Posted November 27, 2017 9:09 am

    We were so saddened about Sterling’s death. He was a very, very fine young man. Allen thought so much of Sterling as did everyone. He was always so successful in his life pursuits going back to his younger years. He will be missed.

  • Debbie Gellner Posted November 27, 2017 11:59 am

    May God wrap His arms around your family you leave behind, give them the strength to carry on in the days, months, and years ahead. You will be missed by so many. The world won’t be the same without Big Ster. Always in all of our hearts. Give comfort to Gay, Slater, Shanna, all of your family…and especially Little Ster. He will grow and make you proud that he carries on your name. Prayers for all…

  • Trevor Hall Posted November 27, 2017 12:23 pm

    The entire Hall family grieves with you. Sterling was an outstanding athlete, a gifted scholar, and a talented lawyer. May the comfort of Christ rest upon you family.

  • Sarah Hershman Posted November 27, 2017 12:33 pm

    Sterling, you are loved and will be missed my many! Our wonderful memories of you will remain in our hearts and cherished forever. Love you Sterling!
    Peace, prayers and blessings to the Elza Family.

  • Peggy Klenclo Posted November 27, 2017 2:42 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    May you find peace and comfort in each other and in his cherished memory.

  • Russell R. Smith Posted November 27, 2017 5:37 pm

    While I only personally know Slater and his immediate family from our lawyer connections, my thoughts and prayers are with all of the extended family and friends during this time.
    Russell R. Smith
    Nacogdoches, Texas

  • Vicki Cumming Posted November 27, 2017 10:57 pm

    Gay, I am justing reading this and am so sad for you and the guys. He did a lot with the 43 years he had here. I am proud to think I even touched his life a tiny bit. I rest in the knowledge that Heaven will be forever and there will be no missing there. For now, my heart is with you.

  • Dale and Judy Tracy Posted November 28, 2017 7:38 am

    Gay, we are deeply saddened at this tragic news. Our prayer is that God surround you with His love and comfort and give you peace at this very sad time. Love, Dale and Judy

  • Christopher Higgins Posted November 28, 2017 12:33 pm

    My heart is heavy today. I am sitting in my office with tears rolling down my face. Sterling was a classmate, a teammate, and my friend…but most of all he was a great person. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to all his friends and family. O-line forever!!!

  • Wayne & Linda Woodward Posted November 28, 2017 2:44 pm

    James, we are so very sorry to hear about this great loss that you are experiencing. Please know that Linda and I are thinking of you.

  • Gayla Jackson Posted November 30, 2017 11:44 am

    Shanna, Slater, Sterling , and Family,
    We just found out about Big Sterling’s death. We are very sorry for you all. Please know there are soooo many people lifting you all up in prayer, including us. May you feel the Love and Peace of Christ.
    Kenny and Gayla Jackson

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