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John Livingston Starks


1928 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
John Livingston Starks Obituary
JOHN LIVINGSTON STARKS John Livingston Starks passed away on November 8th, 2014 in Chico, Ca. He was born to Learner Thomas (L.T.) Starks and Lillian (Coombs) Starks on November 20th, 1928 in Little Rock Arkansas. At age two, his father passed away and he moved with his mother and sister to Phoenix, Az where they joined the household of William Gossett, his maternal uncle and where several other of Lillian's siblings also resided. John often reminiscenced of his childhood, always speaking fondly of being raised by his extended family while attending elementary school. However, Lillian re-married when John was in his early teens and shortly thereafter, she and John moved to the home of his new step-father, Vaughn Coombs located in Los Angeles, Ca. John attended Garfield High School, where he would meet Floretta, his wife now of over sixty-six years. John and Floretta were married shortly after their high school graduations. They settled in Los Angeles for their first few years and their first son, John Raymond, soon joined the family in 1948. John began working as a heavy equipment operator in the construction industry where he had the opportunity to join the operating engineers union. His uncle John, one of the his mother's siblings whom he had previously lived with in Phoenix, requested he move his family to Bridgeport, WA where he could join his own employer in construction of the Chief Joseph Dam. John looked forward to working with his Uncle John and eagerly accepted his invitation. John spent the next decade working on various dam projects as a heavy equipment mechanic. While living in Bridgeport, their second son, David Vaughn was born. After working on the Chief Joseph dam, the family moved to Chelais, Wa where he was employed on the Mayfield Dam construction crew and then to Wenatchee, Wa where he worked on the Rocky Reach project. While living in Wenatchee, their daughter, Kathleen was born. Prior to John completing his work in Wenatchee, his uncle had relocated back to CA. to work on various engineering projects while settling down to purchase a home in Chico, Ca. In 1962, after completion of the Rocky Reach project, his uncle again invited John to relocate his family to live near him and hopefully open a repair garage of their own in the near future. John again accepted and the family moved for the final time to Chico, Ca. in the summer of 1962. John continued to work on projects for the Operating Engineers Local 3 in the Northern Ca. area while he and his uncle bought property on 7th and Cedar streets and began erection of their repair shop building. By 1968, they completed construction and opened John's Commercial Service for business, offering repairing of Diesel commercial vehicles and related machine work. Unfortunately, soon afterwards, his uncle suddenly passed away. John was greatly saddened with the loss of his uncle and new business partner, but he continued on with their plan and successfully operated "John's Commercial Service" as the sole owner with his wife, Floretta, for the next decade. In addition to the repairing of commercial vehicles, he also started a towing service "John's Towing" and soon was towing on the rotation list for all of the local law enforcement agencies. However, for many years, John had had the goal of one day opening an auto dismantling service to compliment the other services he offered. In 1980, he realized that desire with the opening of "John's Auto Wreckers" on E. Park Ave. in Chico. In the next decade, he and his wife, Floretta, owned and operated their newest venture. John enjoyed attending the salvage and equipment auctions where he bought inventory to later re-sell. Floretta continued to work with her husband as the sole bookkeeper. John always attributed much of his business success to the also tireless efforts of his wife, whom he referred to as "his only business partner". At the end of the decade, John was ready to retire from the auto dismantling business. He closed down the business and sold the property. His eldest son, John, acquired the towing service from his father which he continues to own and operate, now located at 2535 Fair street in Chico. Throughout his life, John would earn the respect and admiration of the many people he would meet and have the opportunity to work with. As a young child he experienced firsthand, the importance of having a loving family. He was dearly loved and will surely be missed. John is survived by his wife, Floretta of Chico; his three children: John Starks of Chico, David Starks of Oroville, Ca and Kathleen Chambers of Elk Grove, Ca; his five grandchildren: Johnathon Starks and Kelli Kurth, both of Chico and Jeffery, Dustin and Kristopher Chambers, all of Elk Grove. He is also survived by six great-grandsons./
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Nov. 14, 2014
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