On May 16, 2020, Wesley E. Starr lost his battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his wife and family.
Born on August 6, 1933 to the late Clarence and Florence Starr, Wes spent his early years in Hartford, CT, attending William Hall High School where he ran track (miler) and played baseball (2nd baseman) for the “Hallmarks”. He briefly attended college in Storrs, CT before enlisting in the USAF in 1953. His Air Force training centered on an intensive eight-month course in Mandarin Chinese taught at the prestigious Yale Institute of Far Eastern Languages in New Haven, CT. A two year posting to Taipei, Taiwan upon graduation put his language skills to use and ignited an interest in intelligence work that would shape his military career.
Wes was permitted to leave the Air Force early to complete his bachelor’s degree at the University of Connecticut, graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences. With a concentration in English literature, Wes was no stranger to books. He read widely and daily for the rest of his life.
After a few years in the insurance business, Wes returned to military service. At age 32 he enrolled in Officer Candidate School, finishing first in his class and launching his Naval career. Following preflight training at Pensacola, FL ,Wes was assigned to “The World Famous Fighting Tigers” Attack Squadron 65 (VA-65) as their Air Intel Officer and set off for Vietnam aboard the USS Forrestal. Subsequent assignments to the Replacement Air Group VA-42 and Air Wing 6 followed. He saw much of the world and lived in Pensacola, Honolulu, Denver and Virginia Beach before landing in Northern Virginia in 1971. Assigned to the Pentagon and Defense Intelligence Agency, Wes worked on a number of top secret and compartmented intelligence initiatives including Soviet submarines. Lieutenant Commander Wesley E. Starr retired from the Navy in 1981.
Wes thoroughly enjoyed woodworking, oil painting, a good martini and anything involving sand and sea. His childhood love of the water started with swimming, fishing, boating and clamming in the waters off Niantic, CT, and culminated in the purchase of a beach house in South Bethany Beach, where family and friends have gathered for more than 40 years. He spent the last 20 years of his life overlooking the Delaware Bay along Slaughter Beach, a view he never tired of.
His voice was deep, his handshake famously firm, and his approval of anything was acknowledged with a drawn out “super”. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Wes is survived by his wife of 20 years, Jane Starr, and his children; Deborah, Christian and Alison and Janise Nichols. He is also survived by his brother Quentin and grandchildren; Clayton, Ryan, Brittany, Devin, Miles, Addison, and McKenna, and great-grandchildren; Lily, Jack, and Elena.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Barbara Starr and his son Wesley E. Starr Jr.
Memorial service and burial with honors to be scheduled at Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations be made to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Office of Development, P.O. Box 27106, New York, NY 10087-7106