Dr. George W Starks
November 20, 1923 – July 29, 2018
George W. Starks of Winter Springs passed away peacefully Sunday, July 29th. Born in Mayo, FL, he grew up in and around Orlando and Live Oak, FL. After graduating from Suwanee High School, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was trained as a B-17 pilot. He was shot down over France and walked 300 miles to escape to Switzerland. After the war, he attended college at the University of Florida and then Dental School at the University of Louisville. In 1955 he moved his family to Orlando where he practiced Pedodontics for 29 years. He then taught at the UF Dental School for sixteen years and then worked for the Board of Dental Examiners for six years, finally retiring completely at the age of 90. His devotion and service to the Professional Practice of Dentistry made him an icon in the field. He was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, St. Alban’s Anglican Cathedral, the Central Florida Dental Society, a Board member of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Savannah, a Fellow of the American College of Dentists, as well as many other professional organizations where he served on the Boards and as President. Also, a member of North Orlando Kiwanis, the Air Force Escape and Evasion Society, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and Korean War Veterans. A recipient of many awards for service to his country, profession and community, he was most proud of being a member of the French Legion of Honor for his service to the country of France in WWII, and his award from the Govt. of South Korea for his service during the Korean conflict. He held both a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in combat operations. We chided him for probably being the world’s oldest living Gator Fan. He truly bled orange and blue. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and travelled the world in the pursuit of both. He is preceded to his reward by his wife of 65 years, Betty Jo Baechle and his second wife of three years Sue Ryerson. He is survived by his children Jo Marshall, Fern Park; Paul (Betty); Mike (Kathy), both of Winter Springs, Sara (Bill) of Casselberry; step children Scott (Felicia) Winter Springs; Jim (Darcy) Catawba SC, Nancy (Marcus) Longwood and numerous grandchildren, step grandchildren and great grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at St. Alban’s Anglican Cathedral on Saturday, Aug. 11th at 11 am. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to following of your choice: St. Alban’s Cathedral 3348 W. SR 426 Oviedo, FL 32765 in memory of George Starks UCF Foundation, Inc. 12424 Research Parkway, Suite 250 Orlando, FL 32826 in memory of George Starks, Aphasia House Raymond Meyers Memorial Scholarship Fund University of Louisville School of Dentistry 501 South Preston Street, Room 240C Louisville, KY 40202 in memory of George Starks
- Funeral Service Saturday, August 11, 2018
- Reception Saturday, August 11, 2018
- Committal Service Saturday, August 11, 2018
Dr. George W Starks
August 12, 2018
George and I met at the UFCD emergency clinic sometime back in 1992. I was a second year student and he was a courtesy faculty. I walked in and there he was , larger than life. He was a wonderful instructor and unlike many others, he respected all of us and tried to make us the best we could be. He would drive up on Tues and stayed until Thursday. Not too long because he had to get back to Betty Jo. While he was in Gainesville we had great cook outs at my townhouse and when my family was in town he was always part of the party because I truly felt that he was a part of my family.
As time went on and our friendship grew I met his family, I visited his home and worked alongside him at the dental board preps course. We sure had some wonderful times together. So many that I could probably write a book about them. He was always full of energy and hard to keep up with. Not sure if it was because of his energy or those long legs he had. It was probably some of the best times in my life and he was a huge part of it.
For those who where fortunate enough to have met George, you know exactly what I am talking about. You could always count on him knowing where the best food was. He certainly knew where the best veal marsala was in Gainesville. He was also extremely dependable. He was so dependable that he would drive us all crazy at dinner during the dental board preps because he had to fuel up the generators, so eat fast. He loved his Gators and prayed hard for a national championship. I will never forget sitting next to him during the first national championship celebration when he shed a tear. He turned to me and said " I never thought I would live long enough to see this, they have been bad for so many years". Well he lived to see 3 of them and enjoyed them all. Most important of all you knew he had a great big heart. He would stop to talk to anyone and always help anyone he could.
Goodbye old friend until we meet again. Thank you for the memories and the friendship.
August 6, 2018
I was truly dismayed to read of Dr. Starks' passing. Just a few weeks ago I learned of the book "Coffin Corner Boys" which detailed his experiences in WW2. On a whim, I Googled his name and discovered he still lived in Winter Springs. When I called, he answered the phone himself. I asked if he was available to sign my copy of the book, and he replied to come on over, he would gladly sign. I was at his house in less than an hour and enjoyed a very pleasant chat with him.
I should note that Dr Starks was my dentist back in the early 60's. I only later learned of his war exploits. But as a young boy, I was more impressed by his appearances as a panel member on the local TV show Central Florida Showcase. Knowing someone who was on TV was a big deal to an 8-year-old boy.
Thank you, Dr Starks, for everything you accomplished in life: student, soldier, physician, husband, father. But mostly for being a good man.
As I have said about only a few people I have known:
"If you're half the man he was, you're twice the man most are."
Blue skies, Dr Starks.