Clifford Starnes passed away peacefully at his home in Bonham, Tx in the early hours of January 5th at the age of 91.
He was born on September 6th 1929 to Ernest Starnes and Ada May (Gossett) Starnes. Clifford was the youngest sibling of 7 children. He grew up in Oak Cliff next to the Dallas Zoo and later his family moved to Irving, Texas. One of his stories about the living by the Zoo was when he slipped passed the rails at the monkey exhibit to get peanuts that were dropped so he could give them to the monkeys and got too close to the cage and had the top of his hair pulled out by one of the chimps. He never did that again.
Clifford met his soon to be wife Joyce McAllister while working at Bryant Neece’s gas station. She was waiting for the bus to take her to the skating rink in Dallas. Bryant Neece knew her and said his brother-in-law Cliff would give her a ride. At the time Cliff drove a convertible which he called his “collapsible passion wagon” and the rest is history. They fell in love and was married on May 10th 1952 in Irving, Texas.
One of his jobs was working at National Casket Company making “wooden overcoats” as he called them for the troops of World War II. One day he received a letter stating he was being drafted and the day before he was to report for duty, he got a reprieve. His boss wrote a letter stating he was needed there to build the caskets and they let him stay.
Cliff also worked for F & M Systems where he was the only employee in the company to have top-secret clearance for delivering parts to NASA. He was very proud to have this position and took it very seriously.
Clifford and his wife Joyce purchased 20 acres in Bonham, Texas and when they retired moved there in 1992. He raised cattle, sheep, chickens and many other birds. Oh, and the bees which I think was more of his brother Everett’s idea.
Cliff had many sayings that we will never forget. A few are: If you asked him what he was doing he always responded with “brushing my teeth” or when you shook his hand he would say are you scared of me and if you said no he would say “then why are you shaking” or if you asked him “why” he would say I have two reasons “Be Cause”.
He is proceeded in death by his parents Ernest and Ada May Starnes. Six siblings, Hessie Lewis, Tressie Schuler, Juanita Toney, Winfred Starnes, Winnie Neece and Everett Starnes.
He is survived by his loving wife Joyce Starnes. 4 children, Rickey Starnes and wife Vivian, Gary Starnes, Mark Starnes and wife Donna and Dana Starnes McDaniel and husband Steve. 7 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild plus many family members and friends.
Clifford was a very honest hard-working man who enjoyed life and being with his family. He will be missed but will live on in our hearts.