1953 - 2020

John Starkey
June 17, 1953 - January 11, 2020

On Saturday, January 11, 2020, John Cameron Muhlenberg Starkey, Millhouse Professor of Theology at Oklahoma City University, passed away at the age of 66. John was born on June 17, 1953 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
After studying at North Carolina University, John received his B.A. from Ford-ham University, his M.T.S. from Weston School of Theology, and his Ph.D. from Boston University.
In 1977 John began teaching English at Loyola High School in Towson, Maryland, and then at Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine, teaching English, scripture and ethics, and coaching speech and debate, 1982-91. His service work earned him the Maine Forensic Association Service Award and the Cheverus High School Award in Portland, Maine in 1991.
After many years of study, prayer, and discernment, John decided in 1981 to leave his preparation for the Jesuit Order and became a Quaker. He exemplified the Quaker belief that every person is loved and guided by God. He was a teaching assistant at Boston University's School of Theology 1993-1997 and served much of the last 21 years in service to United Methodists, teaching Sunday School and church camp classes.
At OCU since 1998, he was involved in numerous campus committees, activities, and service-learning initiatives. He earned many awards at OCU, including the Out-standing Faculty Award in 2006, the Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award in 2014-15, the Excellence in Teaching Award for Full-Time Faculty in 2009, and recogni-tion as the Distinguished Honors Professor in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2012.
He published many articles and book reviews, and he presented numerous papers at academic conferences. He also made countless presentations at churches and retreats.
Known for his wisdom, kindness, understanding, sin-cerity, unwavering faith, and availability, John inspired students, colleagues, and friends, as evidenced by countless Facebook messages of praise and admiration.
John loved trees and regularly had long conversations about them with friends. He loved to hike in the Northeast with long-time friend Sharon Ciccarelli and her family. He loved to sing and knew hundreds of songs and ballads.
John was preceded in death by his father, Henry M.M. Starkey, and his mother, Nancy Starkey. He is survived by his sisters Gayle Thomas, Martha Thomas, and Joyce Ghost, his brother Rusty Starkey, and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be Sunday, January 19, at 3 p.m. at Oklahoma City University in the Bishop Angie Smith Chapel, with a reception following in Watson Lounge. Memorial gifts may be designated to the John Starkey Memorial Scholarship Fund at OCU or to the charity of the donor's choosing in memory of Dr. Starkey.
Published by Oklahoman on Jan. 17, 2020.
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Memorial service
Oklahoma City University in the Bishop Angie Smith Chapel
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2 Entries
John Starkey was my teacher and Speech and Debate coach at Cheverus from 1983-1987. I was honored to learn from him, and I am proud to call him my friend.
Stephen Taggart
April 15, 2021
John was a colleague and true friend, though I only engaged him as a fellow leader and participant in the annual American Academy of Religion Southwest Region and Southwest Commission on Religious Studies annual meetings. I never had a conversation with John in which he was anything other than encouraging and perceptive. John served the academy as a leader, and learning only late about his passing has tempered my day with pause. May John rest in peace, and may his family and close friends gain comfort.
Stacy Patty
February 28, 2020
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