Wayne Clarence Starch was born at home on May 5, 1941, in their home east of Ralls, to Clarence and Vera (Patton) Starch, delivered by Dr. Haney. Wayne grew up with his sisters and worked hard on the family dairy farm. He developed a significant interest in nature and the outdoors to include taking care of his pet possums, skunks and many other pets. Wayne graduated from Ralls High School in 1959 where he was voted as “Most Likely to Succeed.” During his time in high school, Wayne worked as an orderly at the hospital in Crosbyton where he even assisted in surgery and talked years later about helping with gallbladder surgery. Wayne attended McMurry University getting an education degree in 1963. During his time there, he was very popular and loved by everyone as many have continued to report. He was a part of the Kiva Birds Social Club and kept many lifelong friends from this part of his life until he passed. He also received a Master’s degree from Texas Tech in Counseling.
Wayne married Darla Henderson in 1965 and they had three kids. Wayne was sadly preceded in death by his second son, Stephen, who died in the line of duty serving in the US Border Patrol after being married to Christie Babovec for a very short time in 1997. Wayne really missed Stephen and chose to buy a plot so he could be buried near his son.
Wayne began his career in education teaching biology at Plainview and then moved to teaching at Alderson Junior High in Lubbock all while raising cows and pigs in Shallowater. Wayne then went to Andrews ISD as a high school counselor and next became the Director of Special Education for HONDA (Hale Center, Olton, New Deal and Abernathy ISDs). Afterwards, he became a biology teacher at Lubbock High and Monterey and then finally retired as the Director of Special Education at Littlefield ISD. Wayne was a wonderful singer and during these years he also spent time as the Choir Director at the United Methodist Church in Shallowater where he formed many more friendships. He was also asked to sing at many weddings and funerals, and sang “Sunrise, Sunset” at his son David’s marriage ceremony to Kathy. Wayne started buying houses in Lubbock during his time as an educator and when it came to retirement, decided to do this full time. He was a hard worker and savvy investor having numerous properties in Lubbock, TX, Ruidoso, NM and in San Carlos, Mexico. He was also a mentor to several others over the years starting out in real estate.
Wayne was able to spend many years in one of his favorite places, Ruidoso. He formed many of his closest friendships, was able to spend time growing in his relationship with the Lord and raised cows, which was a favorite hobby.
Wayne’s mother Vera ensured that the family got together often, and these have continued over the years. Wayne loved the family gatherings, eating and spending time together many times throughout the years. He was known as a fun uncle to the nieces and nephews, and just like his father, Clarence, made everyone laugh and have a good time. He opened his homes in Ruidoso to his family and ensured they were all able to enjoy his favorite place.
In Ruidoso, Wayne also met the love of his life, Jean Ballard. Wayne danced his way into Jean’s heart on one of their very first dates and they decided soon after to get married. In 2020, as newlyweds, Covid became extra special for them spending time getting to know each other even more, talking while sitting outside amid the outdoors and their daily afternoon drives around Ruidoso. Wayne and Jean combined their lives from friends at the Methodist and Baptist churches they attended which included Bible studies, choirs and other ministry activities. Wayne’s special relationship with Jean allowed him to walk through healing emotionally and spiritually, creating stronger bonds with his children along the way. Jean showed extra special courage in how she fulfilled her vows in serving Wayne until the very end and especially over the last year of his life. She sacrificed as she cared for him day and night from the hospital to the assisted living places and to their home. Jean displayed the love for her husband depicted in 1 Corinthians 13 and Wayne’s family honor her for how she helped improve his quality of life until the very end.
Wayne loved being a grandfather to his seven grandchildren, spending time with all of them from birth through high school and college graduations and birthdays in between. Just a few years ago, Wayne and Jean bought a house in Lubbock to be closer to the grandkids as they started going to Texas Tech. He loved nature and the arts, especially music with his favorites the Bee Gees and Eagles, and the opera “Porgy and Bess.” Some of David and Jennifer’s favorite memories were singing along with him in the car and doing vocal exercises on the way to church.
He especially enjoyed his Wisconsin family, taking many trips starting as a young child into his adulthood. He was able to make a trip with David in 2007 and his last with Jean and Jennifer’s family in 2022.
He is preceded in death by parents, Clarence and Vera Starch and son, Stephen Starch.
Wayne is survived by his wife, Jean Ballard Starch; son David (Kathy) Starch and grandchildren: Peighton Starch, Coleman Starch, Presley Starch; daughter Jennifer (Syril) Mathai and grandchildren: Ashton Mathai, Avery Mathai, Reagan Mathai, Ryann Mathai; older sister Jauana (Ben) Colburn and families of nephew Kevin (Tracey) Colburn and niece Teresa (Joe) Hinson; younger sister Carolyn (Gary) Jordan and families of niece Kimberly (Pleasant) Brooks and nephew Nathan (Mindy) Jordan.
Wayne’s sisters, Jauana and Carolyn, shared that Wayne’s favorite scripture was Psalm 139 and the family would encourage each of you to take a moment to read this beautiful passage as it meant so much to Wayne.
Wayne Starch died on Monday, January 1, 2024.