A long-time resident of Springfield, John Benjamin Stark passed away July 16, 2013 at the Missouri Veteran's Home in Mt.Vernon, Mo., at the age of 87.
He was born Dec. 23, 1925, to the late Roy and Callie (Gillean) Stark on a farm near Charleston, Mo. Following his graduation from Anniston High School in 1944, he enlisted in the United States Army
Air Corps. He worked as a radio technician while serving in England and the States during WWII
, prompting a life-long love of aviation leading to his acquiring a pilot's license. After his service, he returned to the Charleston area where he met Patsy Thurman and, after a two-month courtship, married on Dec. 7, 1946. She preceded him in death in 2005 after 58 years of marriage.
In 1947 the couple moved to Davenport, Iowa, where he worked for the J.I.Ca
se manufacturing plant. Ten years later they moved to Strafford, Mo., as he began a career with Producers Creamery (later known as Mid-Am then DFA). After serving as a field representative, he moved into management prompting moves to Windsor, Cabool, and Springfield, Mo. He retired in 1990 after 32 years of service.
John enjoyed spending time with Howard Graham, whom he had known since they both were four years old. Both had attended Anniston Schools and later married sisters, worked for the same company, and remained close all their lives.
Always a social and humorous man, in retirement he also enjoyed playing at the Green Hills golf course in Willard, visiting at weekly luncheons and Elk Club dinners, and traveling with friends and family. The last few years he especially enjoyed attending ballgames and having special times with his close friend Gloria Van Hook.
John was proud to be a 32nd Degree Mason and Shriner and member of the Wesley United Methodist Church.
Surviving are his four children and spouses: Janet (Gary) Maggard, Cabool; Jane (Bill) Baker, Aurora; Becky (Jeff) Mitchem, Highlandville; and Andy (Tamara) Stark, Springfield; nine grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Doris and Howard Graham, brother-in-law Richard Cox, several nieces and nephews and a host of friends.
In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by his brothers Roy and William Rex Stark, sister Judith Griffin and granddaughter Whitney Baker.
Funeral services are Friday, July 19, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home in Springfield with visitation Thursday, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Memorials may be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children in care of the funeral home.