Perry Baxter Starkey

Bakersfield, California

Obituary for Perry Baxter Starkey
Perry Baxter Starkey
1/20/1931 – 4/26/2018

Perry was born in Stidham, Oklahoma, to Lee and Ulura (Charlotte) Starkey, January 20, 1931. On April 26, 2018, at the age of 87, Perry B. Starkey was called home by his Savior Jesus Christ. Perry’s family moved from Stidham to Checotah, Oklahoma, when Perry was 10 years old. In 1943 the lack of available labor from WWII made it impossible to run the family farm, so they moved to Arvin, California. Perry was one of five children.

Perry attended Kern Union High School (BHS) and graduated in 1950. Perry was a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy. He served in the Korean War on the Merchant Ship USS Skagit from 1951 to 1954. He went on to college, taking courses in engineering. Perry met Joann Bibb at the Circle Dot Café in Arvin, while on leave on Christmas Day in 1952. One year later on Christmas Day, they were married after he returned home from service. Perry was employed at Carnation (ice cream) plant as a facility engineer. He had passed the test to become a Bakersfield fireman, but he stayed on as supervisor at Carnation because they needed him. Perry was the most loyal man you would ever meet. His last 35 years of working, he worked at Valley Industrial Laundry/American Linen as plant manager, where he retired in 1994. Perry never took one single day off or missed one day of work in 46 years. This is still talked about today. Perry was a very hard worker, to say the least, and his work ethic is a gift he passed on to his children. His unbelievable work ethic is a character trait much valued and looked up to by his children.

Perry loved projects around the house, from building barns (yes, in Bakersfield), backyard decks, landscaping, or building the first weight room at West High School in the golden years of 1978. He was a lifetime member of the West High Booster Club for his involvement in that Viking project.

Perry loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and camping. We spent many weekends in Pismo with his brother Odell’s family. Perry and Odell were very close. We always felt as if we had two dads and two moms, Odell and Dorothy and Joann and Perry.

Perry was a giving man, “the shirt off his own back” kind of guy. If you needed something done, just ask Perry. If you needed a place to stay, just ask Perry. If you needed a car, he would give you his brand new one to borrow.

One of Perry’s greatest joys was watching his four grandchildren play sports. He spent many hours watching, supporting, and cheering on Heather, Danny, John, or Perri at their many individual sports events.

After retiring in 1986, Perry loved to travel in his motor home with Joann. Their best times were traveling and going to new places. The annual trips to Las Vegas to meet Phyllis and Bob Sanchez for the shows, and Carol and Doug Harvell for the National Rodeo Finals. Perry enjoyed playing golf with his friends.

We will miss him so much, but are happy for the reunion he is having with Mom and other family in Heaven.

Perry was preceded in death by his parents, Lee and Ulura (Charlotte) Starkey; brother, Jim Starkey; and just seven months ago, his wife of 63 years, Joann (Bibb) Starkey. He is survived by his brothers, Odell and Bill (Barbara) Starkey; and sister, Joyce Welch-Starkey; daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Byron Pruitt; son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Joan Starkey; grandchildren, Heather (Pruitt) Brusky, Danny Pruitt, John Starkey, Perri Starkey; and great-grandchildren, Bailey, Madison, Mason, Abagail, and Charlotte.

The family would like to give a special thank you to Ms. Carrie Ann Mays for all her dedication and care that she provided to Perry this past year.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, May 4, 2018, at Greenlawn Funeral Home Southwest at 10:00 a.m.