Kurt Conrad Starkel, age 28, of Belgrade, passed away Friday, Dec. 26, 2014, in a snowmobiling accident on Seeley Lake, leaving behind his best friend and adored wife, Teesa (Hunt) Starkel.
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Kurt had an unquenchable spirit and his bright smile warmed the heart of everyone he met. Kurt was a man of myriad talents who touched many lives. He will be remembered most for his dedication to his family and friends, his deep sense of compassion, keen intellect and heart of gold.
Kurt was born on Jan. 8, 1986, in Missoula. He was the son of Vic Starkel and Marilyn Wood. He was lucky to have a huge loving family on both the Starkel and the Wood side of his family with seven brothers and six sisters and hundreds of nephews, nieces and cousins.
Kurt grew up in Ronan and was raised by men he adored who loved working with their hands. He spent his younger years woodworking with his grandpa, working on engines with his dad and his uncle and being a helping hand on his brother's farms. He was the kind of man who loved life and kept himself busy with his many interests.
Kurt graduated from high school in 2004, where he fell in love with his eventual wife, and learned the art and science of designing and building everything from cabinets to computers. He took after his dad in working three jobs at once as a teenager -- changing pipe, working at S&S sports and at the car wash in Ronan.
After high school, Kurt moved to Bozeman for college, where he ended up living for the remainder of his life. He married his high school sweetheart, Teesa, on Oct. 14, 2006, and graduated from Montana State University in 2011 with a degree in construction engineering and a minor in business administration.
Kurt started his construction career in college, working for Blue Mountain Homes and Tim Dean construction. Upon graduation, Kurt did an internship with Teton Heritage Builders and gained experience in building large, multi-million dollar custom homes, taking a lot of pride in his work managing the full life cycle of each project.
In 2013, he joined On Site Management Inc., where he was recognized for his work ethic and promoted to become the youngest project manager on the team. He really loved his job combining his love for hands-on work and intellectual challenges. He enjoyed the people he worked with and would usually come home smiling from the amusing events he shared with his friends that day.
Kurt was an avid outdoorsman, and he and Teesa enjoyed many activities together. When Kurt wasn't enjoying the outdoors, you could find him working in his garage on all of his toys, finding "projects" in his house or helping his friends with their projects. Among his many outdoor pursuits, Kurt loved snowmobiling, snowboarding, dirt biking, fishing and ice-fishing, bow-hunting and hunting. He and Teesa loved to hike and camp with their faithful dog, Maddie, at their side and many times with friends.
Kurt can count dozens of people that would identify themselves as his best friend and considered a friend in need as a friend indeed. People were so attracted to his fun-loving personality and humor that friends always surrounded him.
Survivors include his wife, Teesa; mother, Marilyn Wood of Ronan; sister, Laverne (Cyril) of New Brunswick; sister, Christine (Irv) of Mesa Arizona; brother, Dave (Bernice) of Ronan; sister, Kaye (Gary) of Pablo; brother, Bob (Joyce) of Ronan; sister, Vicki (Kim) of Tucson, Arizona; brother, Ed (Lynn) of Polson; sister, Sylvia (Chuck) of Missoula; brother, Roger (Kathy) of Ronan; and brother, Murray (Wendy) of Southlake, Texas.
Kurt was preceded in death by his father, Vic Starkel; his grandparents, Morris and Iola McConnell; his brothers, Randy Wood and John Starkel; and sister, Phyllis Starkel.
Kurt will be sorely missed by all of us that have had a chance to know and love him.
Thanks to all that have reached out to help us all through this most difficult time.
Viewing will be held on Friday, Jan. 2, at Terrace Lake Community Church (35663 Terrace Lake Road in Ronan) from 4-8 p.m. A celebration of Kurt's life will be held at the same location at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 3. A light luncheon will be served following interment at the Mountain View Cemetery in Ronan.
An additional memorial service will be held in Bozeman at the Commons (at intersection of Baxter and Love Lanes) on Friday, Jan. 9, at 2 p.m. followed by a light meal.
For a more complete history of Kurt's life please visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/kurt.starkel, and the family asks that memories of Kurt and his life be posted there as well.
His family would appreciate in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Missoula County or Gallatin County Search and Rescue in gratitude of the many volunteers who aid those that love the outdoors. They can be contacted at www.co.missoula.mt.us/mcssar/contact/contact.htm for Missoula County Search and Rescue (use General contact for donations) or contact Lt. Jason Jarrett at Gallatin Search and Rescue, 406-582-2105.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 1, 2015