January 26, 1905, Coleman, Texas.
February 8, 2003, Coleman, Texas.
Silver Valley Cemetery, Silver Valley, Texas.
Robert was the son of Millard Franklin Arnold and Rowena Victoria Lawrence, and a cousin of country-western singer Eddy Arnold.
He learned music at Normal Schools run by the Central Music Company and at other singing schools. His teachers included J. H. Carr, Will Ramsey, Frank White, J. B. Herbert, John A. McClung, W. W. Combs, L. A. Gordon, and Mrs. J. H. Carr.
Sterling began radio work and singing with quartets in his late teen age years. He sang for the Central Music Company quartet, and managed the National Quartet for number of years. For a quarter century, he taught piano and voice in Fort Worth, Texas, where he had a private studio. For a while, he partnered with Albert Brumley and W. Oliver Cooper in the Hartford National Company. He later founded the National Music Company in Jefferson, Texas.
Sterling’s titles were performed by a number of artists. One of his most popular songs, No Tears in Heaven, was recorded by Buck Owens, Skeeter Davis, Red Foley, and The Chuck Wagon Gang. Sterling was inducted into the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1985, and to the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2005.