James R. StarnUnited States Air Force and United States Army Veteran funeral service is 12:45 PM, Thursday, September 27, 2012 at Bay Pines NAtional Cemetery, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., Bay Pines, Florida 33774 with full military honors by the Pinellas County Military Honor Guard. Please arrive at the cemetery between 12:15 PM and servie time.
The following are life stories about James Roger Starn written by his family.
James Roger Starn passed away Friday September 14, 2012 at Bay Pines after a long illness
Jim was a loving son, husband, father and brother, born January 13, 1938 in Richmond Indiana to Iva and Robert Starn. He was the third child of fourteen with ten living brothers and sisters. In 1955 at the age of seventeen he enlisted in the US Air Force. Returning to Richmond after the Air Force in 1959 he enlisted and served in the US Army from 1960 to 1963. Upon discharge from the Army he found employment at the National Automated Tool Company (NATCO) where after twenty-eight years the company closed. He completed his working career with the State of Indiana retiring at age 62. Jim married Priscilla Ann McGrath in 1964 and they enjoyed forty-six years of marriage raising two children; Marsha Susan (Starn) Straughan and James Patrick Starn. He had four granddaughters, a brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Jim became a freemason at the Williamsburg Masonic Lodge and held membership at the Indianapolis Scottish Rite. Jim and Ann moved to North Port Florida in December 2008. As a young man he enjoyed collecting and shooting firearms. Jim had a woodshop and enjoyed woodworking. He also played golf as a young man, but took a 50 year hiatus returning to the game in retirement with great enjoyment. After retirement he learned to play guitar and banjo. He traveled to forty-six states missing only the far North Eastern states.
Jim made friends all around the world and will be missed by one and all. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the American Cancer Society's in Jim's name.
Thank You from his family
From: Marsha Straughan
Subject: My dad
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012
I guess from the beginning it was rather rocky. From what I was told, I was not very smitten with him. He was big and quite frankly I was spoiled. He changed all that. He made me start talking and not just grunting for what I wanted. But it was by no means smooth sailing from there. We had our ups and downs. I rarely remember him being around with the family. He was always working. I know now that he worked so that we could have what we needed. But because he was never home, I was never able to get close to him. When I had friends over they were all afraid of him. He was always so gruff. It wasn't until I got older that I understood why he was this way. He felt it was his duty to take care of his family. And that is what he did. He later regretted it and tried very hard to be there for his grandchildren. I think even that was hard for him in my case. I simply lived too far away. He tried to get along with the girls but they weren't use to his kidding. They thought he was mean. I always told them he was just joking, but again he was big and often didn't feel well. By the time he had grandchildren he was already not well. Just when I would convince the girls that dad was just kidding, he would snap at them because he wasn't feeling well. It was a very fine balance and one I never really figured out. But I do know he tried.
Things got somewhat better when they moved to Florida. He had mellowed a lot and even though he was not well most of the time he tried very hard to show his love towards everyone. He strengthened his faith as well. I never quite knew what his faith was as I grew up. But he read the bible every day when he moved to Florida. He was often searching for answers. He always asked why he had to suffer so much. My brother said it the best just before he died. He said that it was because God knew he could handle it. In watching him suffer so much we all learned just how tough he was. Many people would not have fought as hard as he did to live. To watch him go through this last year has been a lesson of strength. I just hope I can be even half as strong as he was. Mom said he was afraid to die. I told him that it was ok to be afraid, but that God would show him the way and he would not have to suffer any more. Even though I miss him horribly, I know that he is not suffering and he is happy that we have come back together as a family. I think it was important for him to make sure we were all together before he left us.
In ending I will always remember him as a man of few words. But he meant what he said. He had a quirky sense of humor that some found kind of mean. Didn't smile all that much but when he did it was genuine. He loved his wife more than anything. That is why he hung on so long I think. He didn't want to leave her. But both my brother and I promised to take care of her and we will. I learned to persevere and to keep going no matter what. Most of all I learned that we need to tell everyone every day how much we love them. We never said those three words much when growing up, but I will say them to everyone that matters to me from now on.
I love you Papa Bear <3
James Roger Starn
January 13, 1938-September 14, 2012
My old man passed on Friday morning. He had been battling cancer since this spring. By April the cancer had formed on the exit tube of one of his kidney's. He had surgery to remove the kidney and the surrounding cancerous tissue the first part of July. That surgery proved to be too tough for his old body. He fought like hell.
Unfortunately I can't claim to have had a great relationship with my father. I guess the generation gap was too wide. I think we both would have liked to have been closer, but there was always a level of tension we couldn't peel away. Recent events made it possible for me to relocate to the area where my family lives. Since my sister left home in 1980 my immediate family has been separated by thousands of miles, but this summer we were together again. We made the best of it.
James Roger Starn was a hard man. Born the third oldest of fourteen. His father was a half Cherokee cast a way from the hills of Kentucky. Mother a tough as nails church woman. In those days a good job was more important than school so he quit at seventeen and joined the Air Force. Spent most of the next three years on a mountain top in France. He learned the language and dated the local girls. In later years he would speak the French he could remember and tell the stories of his youth. When his enlistment was up he went home, but work wasn't great so he joined the Army. Spent four years on a base in Texas. As luck would have it six months after his Army enlistment was up Vietnam began. Of course at that time no one could have known the mess Vietnam was to be, but I always got the impression he felt a bit cheated spending so long serving and missing inclusion of 'Vietnam Veteran' status by just a few months. One of his favorite stories to tell was how he met my mother. He had actually been married before. When he returned home from the Air Force he met a girl and quickly got hitched. It was a mistake and as soon as he was able to end it he was gone in the service again. When he got out of the Army he decided he wasn't looking for a girl. He was a young man, but already tired of the bar scene. A friend of his was going out for a drink and after plenty of prodding got him to go out with him. Never the shy type, when he saw the prettiest girl in the place he started a conversation. It turned out that she had recently become tired of the bar scene and a friend has talked her into one last time. They talked and agreed to meet again. From the second meeting they built a life together. 48 years. He worked at the local factory with his father until the opportunity came to try something different. He became a police officer for the city. He was a fan of the old westerns and probably thought law enforcement was like being a small town sheriff. The reality was in a mid sized Indiana city being a police officer was boring. He hated the endless paperwork. When his mind was set he quit and went back to the factory. His sense of responsibility was so strong that he worked every hour of overtime he could. Took odd jobs painting houses. Anything he could do to give his family more. Many times he told me how much he regretted working so much when my sister and I were young. He was always either working or sleeping between long hours of work. His only hobby was shooting. We had a small house in a small country town, but had just enough space for a 25 yard shooting range. He had an old Lyman C press and would carefully load his own. That's the time we would get. A few hours Sunday mornings. After I left for the service the factory closed. My mother had finished college and he found work with the state. The proud work horse that kept the family fed became the extra money to my mothers income. Times had changed and his limited education had caught up. He was in his mid forties and just finishing his seventh year in the national guard when he found out he needed by-pass surgery in his legs. The surgery was hard and marked the end of his active years. Lots of medications to treat cholesterol and related stuff. More surgeries for blockages. By the time he was sixty the inability to be active had caused weight gain. He had numerous by-pass related surgeries, two successful bouts of bladder cancer and both knees replaced. He took a disability based early retirement and became a stay at home husband until my mother could retire. When my mother was able to retire they made the move to south Florida to be near my sister and her family and enjoy the weather. They did pretty well. He took up golf and lived the retired life. About a year ago he was diagnosed with a blood disease. This was so severe that he would require frequent blood transfusions. Sometimes twice a week. Things got pretty bad and we thought we might lose him, but the doctors were able to find a medication that worked. He did really well from about Thanksgiving till April of this year.
Most people that met my dad would have found him grumpy. He was quick to smile, but just as quick to tell you where to go. He liked actors like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. He always made sure that my mom had a new or newer car, but never had a new vehicle. If he ever had over twenty dollars in his pocket it was just long enough to find my mom and give it to her. He woke up early every day and by noon was ready for a nap. He was never late. He was judgmental, but not mean. If he didn't like you he'd just ignore you. He could build a table, plant a garden, fix a car and play guitar. He wasn't any good at any of those things, but it never mattered to him. He liked Smith and Wesson revolvers. His pride and joy was a Model 29 that I'll pass on to my kids some day. He liked country music, but couldn't tell you the name of any performers that started after about 1970. He liked the 'judge' type TV shows and old sitcoms. He didn't swear or cus unless he really meant it. He liked cheap bourbon, but only a glass or two. He really enjoyed cooking. Again, he wasn't really good at cooking, but it didn't matter to him.
Out of the 46 years I got to have him as a dad way too many of them we argued. Long periods would pass and my mother would plead with both of us to start talking again. It wasn't always easy, but I was always proud that he was my dad. Even when I couldn't tell him. Wish we had more time. I'm gonna miss him.
Telling people about him and his life helps so I'm gonna do that when I get the chance.
Veterans Funeral Care