Eleanor Ricks left her Idaho home and journeyed to Salt Lake City to enroll at the University of Utah. Entering the freshman girls' dorm, she got on the elevator from the front. At the same moment Nancy Colton entered the back of the elevator, with her brother Sterling, who carried her luggage. Both girls punched the third-floor button. When the elevator opened, Sterling dropped Nancy's suitcases and picked up Ellie's, carrying them to her room.
"I liked him right away!" said Ellie. After a five-year courtship, Sterling and Ellie were married. "Her mother sent her to the 'U' to find a husband," quipped Sterling. "I was fortunate that she was not very picky and chose the first boy she met." Ellie said, "He has been carrying my luggage ever since."
Rarely do two people complement each other so perfectly and are so completely in love.
Sterling is serious and responsible. Ellie is full of fun and occasionally irreverent. Both are excellent leaders. Their life together has unfolded over seven delightful decades. They have raised four outstanding children––three boys and a girl––traveled the globe, assisted numerous needy individuals, and spearheaded a variety of good causes.
Sterling and Ellie were born and reared in the Rocky Mountain West. They remained there as a couple and family until 1966 when J.W. Marriott, Sr. recruited Sterling to Washington, D.C. to head his company's legal team. The Coltons began an adventure-filled new life in the nation's capital.
As Marriott International's general counsel, Sterling became widely known among colleagues as the "conscience" of the company. J.W. (Bill) Marriott, Jr., who succeeded his father as company leader, called Sterling his best friend and relied on his legal judgment as Marriott grew from a relatively small enterprise into the world's largest hotel company.
In the early 1990s, a tumultuous time for financial and construction industries, Marriott came perilously close to insolvency. It was saved by splitting the company into two companies. Sterling was credited with directing the split that saved Marriott.
At home the Coltons were a cohesive, all-American family––working side by side in their house and yard; volunteering community service; supporting their daughter's creative activities; cheering their sons' basketball and football teams. The Coltons skied; visited Disneyland; fished in Alaska; and soared over France's Loire Valley in a hot-air balloon.
her "Sheik." Together they sailed the Mediterranean on a romantic cruise ship, Sea Cloud; safaried in southern Africa; rode elephants in Thailand; and watched for birds from Canada to Antarctica.
The Coltons adopted as their family motto: "Choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15) All three sons served two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and were married in an LDS temple. Sterling and Ellie presided over a variety of local Church organizations as well as a mission and a temple.
Undergirding everything is the love between Sterling and Ellie. This book is their story.