Colonel (Ret.) Posie Lee Starkey
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Norfolk - Colonel (Ret.) Posie Lee Starkey, US Army, of Norfolk, died Sept. 21, 2012, at his home after a series of health complications. He spent his final weeks at home in the care of his close family including his wife, Earlene Kimmerling Starkey, and their nephew and niece and his wife, Greg and Alice Starkey.
Starkey was born in Salem, Va., on Feb. 21, 1926, to Posie Lee Starkey (Sr.) and Berta Barthe Starkey. He attended College of William and Mary, Washington and Lee University, and the University of Maryland, where he received a bachelor of arts degree while serving on Army active duty. He subsequently earned a master of arts-journalism degree at the University of Wisconsin.
He began his military service in 1942 with the Virginia Protective Force while he was attending Andrew Lewis High School in Salem. In 1943 he enlisted in the US Navy, serving as coxswain and boatswain's mate on two destroyer-escorts (USS Clarence L. Evans (DE-113) and USS Robert E. Peary (DE-132)). Both vessels escorted convoys between the United States and Europe during the Battle of the Atlantic in 1944 and 1945.
Starkey was commissioned a second lieutenant-infantry in 1948, the first Virginian selected for an Army crash program to obtain combat arms officers. His Army service included combat tours in Korea (1950-1951) and Vietnam (1969-1970). His troop assignments were with: 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division; 505th Parachute Infantry, 82d Airborne Division; 169th Infantry, 43d Infantry Division; and 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. He attended the Army's Command and General Staff College and the Army Language School. At the latter he studied Arabic prior to serving as principal advisor to the commanding general of the Saudi Arabian regular army brigade in the desert kingdom's eastern province.
His military awards and decorations include: Combat Infantryman Badge, Legion of Merit (with oak leaf cluster), Bronze Star for Valor, Meritorious Service, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendation, and Army Commendation (with cluster) medals. His career included overseas tours in Japan, Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.
Retiring from the Army as a colonel in 1973, he joined then Virginia Electric and Power Company (now Dominion Resources) as director-public relations for the utility's eastern division in Norfolk. Subsequently he was promoted to manager-public relations and manager-community relations at the company's corporate office in Richmond. In 1981 he returned to Norfolk to manage public relations and advertising for Virginia Natural Gas, then a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc. He retired in 1987.
Starkey was active in a number of Hampton Roads civic outreach organizations including: United Way of South Hampton Roads Foundation trustee (board member, marketing and communication committee chair); Volunteer Connection (board member, president); Goodwill Industries of Hampton Roads (board member, president); Medical College of Hampton Roads Foundation's Development Committee (member); Norfolk Crime Line (board member, public relations committee chair); Governor's School for the Arts Foundation (board member); and Primeplus Norfolk Senior Services (board member).
Starkey was an accredited member of both the Hampton Roads and Richmond PRSA chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, serving as board member and president of the latter chapter. The Society awarded its prestigious Silver Anvil to a 1972 program he conceived and implemented that increased black student participation in Army ROTC when the service urgently needed minority officers. In 1999 he received the Thomas Jefferson Desk award for excellence in public relations from the Richmond Public Relations PRSA chapter. The Hampton Roads chapter awarded him its Practitioner of the Year award in 1987 and its Career Service award in 1998. In 1999 the national PRSA elected him to its prestigious College of Fellows.
Starkey is survived by his wife of 63 years, Earlene Kimmerling Starkey. They have a daughter, Leigh Starkey Harkreader (Dennis) of Pittsburgh, Pa., and a son, Patrick C. Starkey (Wren) of Roanoke, Va. P.L. Starkey was preceded in death by a brother, Clem Robert Starkey (Cathryn) of Chattanooga, and survived by a sister, Nell Starkey Lucas (Richard) of Salem. Other survivors include three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and many other relatives.
Starkey's wish was for his remains to be donated to Virginia's State Anatomical Program, and his ashes will be buried with military honors during a private ceremony at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veteran's Cemetery in Suffolk, Va. Family and friends are invited to celebrate Starkey's life and community contributions at a reception on Friday, Oct. 12, from 12:30 until 2 p.m. at Harbor's Edge in Norfolk. Col. Starkey asked that, in lieu of flowers, any memorial be sent to Eastern Virginia Medical School, the Wounded Warrior Project or a
. For information on parking at Harbor's Edge, please contact (757) 616-7900.
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Oct. 9, 2012