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Victor J. Starkel
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Birth: Mar. 8, 1923
Death: Jun. 17, 2011

March 8, 1923 - June 17, 2011: RONAN - Victor Starkel was 88 years old when he broke his hip Friday morning, June 17, 2011, and passed away peacefully less than 12 hours later at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula.

Victor was born in Winside, Neb., to Peter Starkel and Christina Kaiser Starkel. He moved to Montana with his family when he was about 7 years old. He worked on the family farm and attended school until the eighth grade.

He was the "son who stayed home from the war" to help his parents keep the farm going. He started working a man's job when he was only 14 years old. He worked long days at hard manual labor jobs until he retired in his 60s. He was a very hard worker and proud of the accomplishments he made without having a high school diploma.

In his late teens, he noticed a beautiful young woman, Marjorie Cooper, and they eloped to Thompson Falls and got married June 9, 1942.

He logged with his brothers-in-law up until he started an apprenticeship with Stanley Scearce as a tractor/truck mechanic for about 20 years. He added work at Plum Creek Timber Co. to earn more money, and it was also during this time that he approached Lester Dupuis about a Farm-All tractor he was selling and invested in his first piece of farm equipment.

Victor borrowed money to buy his first 40 acres of farm land. He started farming sugar beets and other crops, but realized there was more of a future in potatoes. He built his own "balkan" beds for the beet harvest, welding them himself. He was quite an entrepreneur, a very hard worker, and put in long hours in the fields, often working into the night. He managed to build the house he lived in all his life while working two jobs, starting a farming business and raising a family.

He first started the seed potato farm with his partner, Bill Hocker Sr., then continued on his own to spend the remainder of his career expanding his certified seed potato business. He was followed in the farm by his talented and hard-working sons. He had a lot of mentors in his brother-in-law Walter Mangels and fellow potato growers Ace Lake, Ed Dubay, D.A. Hern and others north of Ronan.

Dad was an active member and supporter in the Ronan community and in his church. He was president of the Ronan Booster Club and served as an elder in St. Paul Lutheran Church for several years. He had a big, generous heart, and helped both family and friends.

He enjoyed doing activities with his family that involved enjoying Montana's gifts, such as hunting, fishing, sports and boating. He was an avid sharpshooter, and became an expert marksman, joining the Ronan Rifle Club. He started weightlifting at the age of 62, with the encouragement of his friends, and set 16 world weightlifting records and earned many other titles.

Vic was a persistent man and always challenged himself to do more. He was very talented man, and many people admired his athletic and farming abilities. He spent his later years watching his family play sports and perform at concerts along with enjoying his exercise routines; he never allowed himself to quit being active. He had a very competitive nature, and loved boasting about himself and his family's accomplishments, always proud of what each one achieved.

He was preceded in death by his parents; 10 brothers and sisters; wife Marjorie Cooper Starkel; oldest son, Victor John Starkel; youngest daughter, Phyllis Jean Tromp; grandsons Jeffery Robert Starkel and Derek Cooper Starkel; granddaughter Traci Dawn Starkel; great-grandson Brice Adamson; and great-granddaughter Melissa Marie Starkel.

Victor is survived by his brother, Whitey Starkel of Pablo; 10 children, Christine (Irv) Holtzen of Mesa, Ariz., David (Bernice) Starkel of Ronan, Kaye (Gary) Bowman of Pablo, Bob (Joyce) Starkel of Ronan, Vicki (Kim) Merley of Tucson, Ariz., Ed (Lynn) Starkel of Polson, Sylvia (Chuck) Moody of Missoula, Roger (Kathy) Starkel of Ronan, Murray (Wendy) Starkel of Southlake, Texas, and Kurt (Teesa) Starkel of Bozeman; 32 grandchildren, numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; and a large extended family of cousins, nieces and nephews.

Even though this event is of great sadness to his family and friends, we are all so blessed to share in so many great memories that we had with him throughout his life. He raised his family to value the importance of family and God, to work hard, to give generously, and as he would usually preach to "spend your money wisely!" He was a much-loved man by his family, friends and the community and will be greatly missed.

Viewing will be 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ronan. A celebration of Vic's life will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 23, at the Ronan Community Center with a meal to follow.

The family requests that any donations made in Vic's honor be sent to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ronan or Montana Talking Book Library, 1515 E. Sixth Ave. P.O. Box 201800, Helena, 59620-1800.

Family links: 
  Marjorie Irene Cooper Starkel (1925 - 1990)
  Victor John Starkel (1944 - 1992)*
  Phyllis Jean Starkel Tromp (1962 - 1990)*
*Calculated relationship
Ronan Cemetery
Lake County
Montana, USA
Created by: TRON
Record added: Jun 18, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 71584056
Victor J. Starkel
Added by: TRON
Victor J. Starkel
Added by: Keith Joiner
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 Added: May. 8, 2012

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