William Raymond Starnes, Marine veteran, played football for Hickman

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 | 10:13 p.m. CDT

William Raymond “Bill” Starnes died Sunday, May 18, 2014, at his home in Bloomington, Ill., of complications from Parkinson’s disease and a stroke. He was 79.

Mr. Starnes was born Feb. 18, 1935, in Columbia, the only child of Levy Adolphus and Helen Miles Starnes.

He played on championship football teams at Hickman High School and was awarded a football scholarship to MU. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics at MU in 1961. According to his family, he worked his way through college, mostly hanging drywall.

From 1956 to 1958, he served with the Marine Corps, protecting the Mojave Desert from his headquarters company payroll desk at the base in 29 Palms, Calif.

He began a career with State Farm Insurance Cos. at the regional office in Columbia and transferred to corporate headquarters in Bloomington in 1973. He retired in 1990 after 26 years of employment as a staff associate in service and systems.

Mr. Starnes was previously married to Sharon Parman, Carolyn Roberts and Judith Ann Dawson. He married Jeanne Blair on Dec. 6, 1984.

In his retirement, he focused his attention on helping his wife with household duties and caring for his home and yard.

His family said he was also passionate about cars and enjoyed watching movies. He was known to feed wild geese and ducks and would occasionally save a distraught mouse trapped in the window well of his home.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at Carmody-Flynn Williamsburg Funeral Home in Bloomington. Services will follow at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.

A graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Park Cemetery in Columbia.

Memorials may be made to the Semper Fi Fund or to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Condolences may be posted at

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