Sterling Drug founder Leonard Astrup dies

AUSTIN, Minn. — Sterling Drug founder Leonard Astrup died July 22. The 86-year-old founded Sterling in 1952, three years after graduating from the North Dakota State University’s School of Pharmacy. Sterling currently has 18 locations in Minnesota and Iowa.

Born in Grenora, N.D., Astrup moved to Austin, Minn., and opened his first store at one of the state’s first strip malls. Shortly after, in 1955, he married his wife of 59 years, Corrine, who survives him.

Astrup was active in Minnesota’s business community, joining the Minnesota Pharmacy Association and becoming a lifetime licensee of North Dakota’s Board of Pharmacy. He also served as a member of the Sterling Shopping Center Business Association. Beyond that, he was a member of the Masons, Sons of Denmark and was on Our Savior Lutheran Church’s original building committee. 

Astrup is survived by his sister, his four children and nine grandchildren. A memorial is planned for Aug. 5 at Our Savior Lutheran Church, and in lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer’s Association of Minnesota or North Dakota are preferred due to Astrup’s battle with dementia. Online condolences are available at

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