John Benjamin Stark

The life of John Benjamin Stark was celebrated with scripture, song and stories at a service Friday, July 19, 2013, in Springfield, Missouri.

A longtime resident of Springfield, John passed away July 16, 2013, at Missouri Veterans Home in Mt. Vernon, Missouri, at the age of 87.

He was born December 23, 1925 to the late Roy and Callie (Gillean) Stark on a farm near Charleston, Missouri. Following his graduation from Anniston High School in 1944, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He worked as a radio technician while serving in England and the States during World War II prompting a lifelong love of aviation and leading to the acquisition of a pilot’s license.

After his service, he returned to the Charleston area where he met Patsy Thurman. After a two-month courtship, they married December 7, 1946. She preceded him in death in 2005 after 58 years of marriage.

In 1947 the couple moved to Davenport, Iowa, where he worked for the J. I. Case manufacturing plant. Ten years later they moved to Strafford, Missouri, as he began a career with Producers Creamery (later known as Mid-Am, then DFA). After serving as a field man, he moved into management, prompting transfers to Windsor, Cabool, and Springfield. He retired in 1990 after 32 years of service.

While in Strafford, he and Patsy owned and operated Strafford Café. Then in Cabool, they operated Tod’s Café for a few years. He also found time to serve on the school board in Strafford and teach a high school Sunday school class for Cabool United Methodist Church.

John enjoyed spending time with Howard Graham, whom he had known since they were four years old. Both had attended Anniston Schools and later married sisters and worked for the same company.

Always a social and humorous man, in retirement he also enjoyed playing at the Green Hills golf course in Willard, visiting at weekly luncheons and Elk Club dinners, and traveling with friends and family. The last few years he especially enjoyed attending ballgames and having special times with his close friend Gloria Van Hook.

John was proud to be a 32nd Degree Mason and Shriner and member of Wesley United Methodist Church.

Surviving are his four children and their spouses: Janet (Gary) Maggard, Cabool; Jane (Bill) Baker, Aurora; Becky (Jeff) Mitchem, Highlandville; and Andy (Tamara) Stark, Springfield; nine grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Doris and Howard Graham, brother-in-law Richard Cox, several nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Roy and William Rex Stark; a sister, Judith Griffin; and a granddaughter, Whitney Baker.

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