James Starkey, 80
VAIL, ARIZONA—James “Jim” Oral Starkey, age 80, passed away on Thursday, November 21, 2019, at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona. He suffered a rapid decline in health following surgery several months earlier.
Jim was born on May 22, 1939, in Hampton, West Virginia. He joined the army at the age of 20 and became a pilot. He served two tours in Vietnam, and he retired as a Major after 20 years of service. He then spent the next 25 years working as an electronics engineer. He was knowledgeable and skilled in many aspects of life, including carpentry. He spent nearly half his life in a home that he helped build in Sierra Vista with his wife of 41 years and his only daughter.
Jim enjoyed learning. He finished his academic endeavors with an Associates of Applied Science (Cochise College), a Bachelor of General Studies (University of Nebraska at Omaha), a Masters of Arts in Business Management (University of Northern Colorado), and a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering (University of Arizona). You could almost always find him with a book in hand. He had an enormous home library, only to be rivaled by his late sister, Jeane. There was nothing more important to him than family. He was an extremely patient, loving, and involved husband and father. In the last years of his life, he enjoyed his granddaughter’s company greatly and asked to see her nearly every day.
Jim is survived by his wife, Yong Ae Starkey; his daughter, Kimberly Polegay (Brad); his granddaughter, Ava Polegay; his sister, Patricia Ann “Tetty” Linger, and her husband, Huelin Linger; and several nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Oral Bernam Starkey and Joy Alice Lewis Starkey; his brother, Andrew Donald Starkey, and his sister-in-law, Iona Starkey; and his sisters, Lavina Jeane Starkey and Carolyn Lee “Toy” Smallridge.
Military funeral honors and service will be held at the Fort Huachuca Post Cemetery on Friday, December 6, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. A portion of his remains will be put to rest in a columbarium niche at Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery. He is deeply missed, and will live on in our hearts forever.