ELWOOD NEAL STARKEY|
World War II
Memories, Biography and
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
Following letter was written by E. Neal Starkey's widow, Edna Starkey.
January 3, 1986
Dear Mr. Lundy:
I am sorry to have to send you the enclosed obituary for my husband, Elwood N. Starkey. He passed away after fighting the toughest battle for life, Aleukemic Leukemia, for the past three years.
Several things: I was so sorry to learn of Pappy Knowles' death. He and Starkey (as we all called him) had a very special relationship and I have heard more war stories from the two of them (and how they got through the whole mess, leaning on each other's strength and pure guts!) Strange how close people became in such a short while.
Starkey was always a pilot, or airplane commander as his discharge reads. I only have a portion of his crew's addresses, as we have had the "honor" of having one home burn to the ground and have been flooded out twice. It is amazing that I have anything left at all! I do have his logbook, but at this hour, am fighting stacks of papers, wills, attorneys, etc. as Starkey just passed away on Thanksgiving Day. Not much time since then, and it hasn't been easy. But I did want to acknowledge your letter and promise that I will try to send you more details at a later date. Am sure that you will understand.
After graduation, Starkey was assigned to a B-24 and as he said, "sink or swim, he would stick with it." He was 28 during his European tour, stationed at Shipdham, as you know, and considered the old man of the crew. Most of them were only 18 and 19.
After his tour and just prior to the end of the war, he transferred to C-54s and was engaged in flying wounded men home from all parts of the world. As he only flew that particular plane for a short while, I have no real knowledge of that crew. The B-24 crew though, I knew well. They were special folks.
My special friend is C. W. (Chuck) Taylor, gunner, and his address is 215 Kellogg St., Syracuse, NY 13204. Wife is named Ruth.
Chuck provided us with other names and addresses:
William l. Paul, copilot, 6410 Old Sauk Rd., Madison, WI 53705, wife is Jean. Paul celebrated his 19th birthday overseas and Starkey delighted always in describing how Bill would "dodge" the flak 0-as it burst in front of the plane. Like dodging would do any good at all!
The only other gunner we know of is Bob O'Connell, 1429 E. 6th St., St. Paul, MN 55106. His wife is Katie. I am sorry to say that Bob is in a nursing home suffering from brain damage due to lack of oxygen-but this was not war inflicted.
Chuck told me of Starkey's death, when I called him and that he thought that their plane "S-Bar" was one of the few crews of such magnitude, that flew 36 missions - and they all came through without a scratch. I, and they, were very proud of that fact.
Starkey joined the 8th Air Force Historical Society just as soon as he heard of it and I will continue to keep his membership intact and the sticker on our car. He would have wanted it that way and would be proud to assist you. I would be too - but then, I wasn't there, was I? Thank God you came back home also.
Until later, please forgive my shaky thoughts and poor typing - but wanted to let you know that I appreciate what you are doing and will help you at a latter date, when my head is a bit clearer. You may have to nag me a bit and remind me of your quest - and my promise - but don't feel badly. I would consider it an honor to be of some little help.
Edna Earle Starkey
Obituary for Elwood Neal Starkey
E. Neal, age 70 passed away Thursday morning (November 28, 1985) in a Longview Hospital. He was born July 19, 1915 in Sherman, Texas. Graduated from East Texas State University. Member of the Baptist Church. Retired from Republic National Bank in Dallas in 1980 and moved to Longview, Texas. He served in World War II as an Airplane Commander; Flew B-24 bomber; Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross; 3 Oakleaf Clusters; 4 Battle Stars, Survived by wife, Edna Earle Starkey, Longview TX. Son, Neal Starkey, daughter-in-law Sharon Starkey, both of Colorado Springs, CO. Daughter, Mrs. Irene Starkey Lee, son-in-law Bruce M. Lee, both of Houston, TX. Sisters Joyce Cunningham, Nashville, TN, Bernice Bridgewater, Knoxville, TN. Brothers A.M. Starkey, Rockledge, FL. Scott Starkey, Baton Rouge, LA. Grand daughter Tracie Lyn Starkey. Grandson, Mitchell Neal Starkey, both of Colorado Springs, CO. Several nieces and nephews. Services 2:00 p.m. Saturday, Restland Wildwood Chapel. Internment Restland Memorial Park. Family will received friends from 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Restland Funeral Home.