Obituary for Lt. Col. David W. Starr, USAF, Ret.
Lt. Col. David W. Starr of Woodland Hills succumbed to the end-stages of dementia and traded his Air Force wings for Angel wings the morning of March 27, 2020.
He was born David Whelpley Starr August 19, 1922 to Philip Dougherty Starr and Ann Florence Whelpley Starr in Oneida, New York.
He led a full life devoted to his country starting before WW II in the U.S. Army. When he enlisted to serve our country during WWII, he was a navigator/bombardier with the Army Air Corps, 11th Aero Squadron stationed in the Aleutian Islands. During that time, he was shot down, which resulted in a broken back. He spent many years recuperating from his injuries, but it didn’t slow him down.
He received double degrees at the University of Maryland in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering, and as a Major in the Air Force, he worked as a GS-15 in the Pentagon for the Department of the Army. During that time, he served under General Gavin to provide his aeronautical engineering expertise during the Korean Conflict.
In 1959, the decision was made to move from Falls Church, VA to the San Fernando Valley. He continued to serve our country in the Air Force Reserves and was sector commander of the Civil Air Patrol in Van Nuys, CA. In addition, he still held his national security clearance and was contracted with the Department of the Navy to design missiles and launchers. Many of those missiles are on display in various military bases as an integral part of U.S. Aeronautical/Military history.
He was promoted to Lt. Colonel in the late 60’s and received the George Washington Freedom Medal of Honor, among other military honors.
David was not only a genius in the world of aeronautical engineering, but in the world of art. In the late 1960’s, he received a double master’s degree in art and art history studying under the late, great Hans Burhardt. His numerous paintings of nature still grace the walls of many family members and friends. One of his memorable paintings was a beautiful watercolor to honor his WWII squadron brothers. This painting is displayed at the Pentagon’s museum.
He continued to work as a senior engineer for Litton Data Command Systems before retiring from the Air Force while living a full life of family, golf and art.
During his retirement, playing golf was one of his favorite pastimes. He managed to golf across North America and Western Europe, including a celebration of his 70th year at St. Andrews’ Golf Course in Scotland, and sent many hand-painted postcards of his travels to the family.
David lived to the age of 97, surviving 4 women; Eleanor, Hope, Ethel and Dorothy, and 2 children; Alex and Rita.
At the time of his passing, David is survived by his children, David Bruce Starr, Ann Karen Starr Castle and Frank David Barham; 5 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and 9 great-great grandchildren.
Mission accomplished, Sir. Well done and well lived.
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