LTC (ret) James Edward Starkey 82, passed away on March 24, 2014 after a brief illness. He was born July 6, 1931 in Clarksdale, Arizona the only child of Margaret and Herman Starkey. When he was six months old the family moved to Prescott, Arizona. On July 4, 1934 he rode his pony Choki in the Prescott parade. He was the youngest contestant and was joined by the movie heroes, Tom Mix and Andy Devine. The family moved to Tucson at the beginning of World War II when his father was transferred to the Southern Pacific Railroad. Jim attended Sam Hughes and Blenman grade schools, Catalina Junior High and Tucson High. He excelled in all sports, especially baseball. He was on the All-Arizona State baseball team in 1948 and 1949. In 1948, as a junior he was named the best pitcher in the state of Arizona. In 1949, after leading the Tucson High badgers to the state championship, he was again accorded that honor. As vice president of the senior class he was named a speaker at the Tucson High 1949 graduation. He enrolled at the University of Arizona on a baseball scholarship in the fall of 1949. Two years later with the start of the Korean War, he was drafted into the Army. After basic training he was sent to Officer's Candidate School and became a Regular Army Officer. He was a master aviator in both fixed wing and helicopters. He served two tours in Korea, two in Viet Nam, one in Germany and two in Iran. During his last tour in Iran he was the aviation advisor to the Shah of Iran. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars for valor, and 11 air medals for valor and numerous foreign medals. When his mother's health required his attention he retired and returned to Tucson where he became an innovator in the senior care field. He owned and operated La Casa Esperanza Supervisory Care Homes for 22 years. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Shirley Condit; his sons, James Starkey, Jr. of Tucson; Patrick Starkey of Dallas, TX and Rick Starkey (Michelle) of Hoffman Estates, Ill and his daughter, Peggy Musselmann (Rick) of Ft. Collins, CO; his grandchildren, Jesse and Gina Starkey of Tucson; Rachel, Sarah and John Musselmann of Ft. Collins, CO; Zack and Ryan Starkey of Hoffman Estates, Ill; his cousins, Patrick Lyle Nash of Tempe, AZ and Betty Jo Anderson of Chandler, AZ and his pug dog, Taichi. Jim was an avid Wildcat fan, a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, a Tucson High Athletic Hall of Fame honoree, and lifetime member of the NRA. He loved hunting, fishing, skiing and traveling. He was generous, affectionate and loving to every member of his family. He wanted to instill patriotism in his grandchildren so he insisted that when each grandchild was nine years of age that child would be taken to Washington, DC for ten days to see how our government functioned. His kids and grandkids describe him as smart, funny, logical, stern, persistent, competitive, helpful, honest, a larger-than life leader with a wicked sense of humor. Memorial Service with full military honors will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, April 19, 2014 at EAST LAWN PALMS MORTUARY. In lieu of flowers the family wishes donations to the Wounded Warrior Project .com. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
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Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Apr. 13, 2014