Obituary: Carl von Sternberg

Obituary: Carl von Sternberg

Forty-year Alexandria resident, Carl von Sternberg, 80, died after suffering a heart attack on Feb. 18, 2009 at his corporate headquarters for Allen Corporation, in Fairfax, Va. A 1951 graduate of Yale University, majoring in Industrial Administration, Mr. von Sternberg began his career in management positions with the U.S. Rubber Company, Boeing and The Matrix Corporation.

In 1969 Mr. von Sternberg and Matrix Executive Vice President Frank Manning started a new company in Alexandria called The Essex Corporation, a behavioral science and training organization. Mr. von Sternberg, as chief operating officer, initiated a period of aggressive growth which continued well after he left Essex in 1975 to start a new company. Essex went public a short time thereafter.

An entrepreneurial spirit, Mr. von Sternberg launched his first company from Alexandria in 1975 with an investment of $3,000. The company grew to 600 employees over the following decade, and was sold to the Singer Company, a prime rival for the Federal training program in which Mr. von Sternberg specialized at the time. His second company, Star Mountain, Inc. was launched from Alexandria in 1987, growing rapidly to a staff of over 500 and spanned 30 locations, coast to coast. The company was sold to Provant, a Boston company seeking expansion of its training organization.

His current company, Allen Corporation, Inc., was created in July of 2000, and he continued his acquisitions as CEO from his Fairfax headquarters until his death.

Mr. von Sternberg co-founded The Augmented Seven, an extant Yale singing group. His leisure time passions included fishing and hunting game at his farm in Mercersberg, Penn., where he spent most weekends.

Mr. von Sternberg was born in Keene, New York on Nov. 2, 1928. He leaves behind his wife of 15 years, Janet, of Alexandria; his children Kurt in Omaha, Nebraska, Mark and his wife, Lisa, in Mercersburg, Penn., Leanna and Allena of Arlington; grandchildren Ashley, Paul JR., Riley and Tristan; and three great-grandchildren. Two of his children, Paul and Milly, preceded him in death. Also surviving is his sister, Fran DiSiervi and ex-wives Barbara Reves, Louise von Sternberg and Millicent von Sternberg.

Funeral services will be held at Demane Funeral Home in Old Town, Alexandria on Friday, Feb. 27, at 11 a.m. Visitation will be available from 10 – 11 a.m. Burial will be in Mercersburg, Penn.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in the name of Carl von Sternberg to either The American Heart Association, online at or to The Campagna Center in Old Town, Alexandria, online at, 418 South Washington Street or via telephone at 703-549-0111.