Timothy Howard Starkey was born to Harriet and Roger “Elmo” Starkey on February 6th, 1953 in Kankakee, Illinois. The fifth of six children, his older siblings Patricia, Rosalyn, and Barry helped raise him, his older brother, Roger, and his younger sister, Susan. In high school, he played both football and wrestling, getting third in state in the latter. He also kept a meticulously neat room, as he would later exasperatedly tell his children who, bewilderingly to him, did not share that particular trait.
He attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, studying Electrical Engineering and becoming the first member of his family to graduate college. While there he honed his skills as a drummer, playing in a band and performing at events to help pay for his education. It was here he also started cooking for himself, and thus began a lifelong culinary passion.
Tim moved to California in 1978 and began working at Verbatim in San Jose. While recruiting women for the company softball team, he met a young buyer named Kathleen Keith, the love of his life. On the first date, they both knew this was something important, and three months later, he proposed. Tim and Kathleen were married on October 16, 1982 at Mission San Jaun Bautista. Both being from big families, they hoped for one as well, and on Thanksgiving Day the next year, Kathleen gave birth to their daughter, Bridget. A little over three years later, they had their son, Joe. Tim would spend the rest of his life making sure his family was loved and provided for.
He gave everything of himself for his family and friends, and was happy to do so. Without a moment’s hesitation taking in his niece like a second daughter, flying down to LA weekly for work so his kids wouldn’t have to change schools, taking Kathleen for walks along the ocean at Pleasure Point as she recovered from her accident, there was nothing too great or too small for him to offer those he loved.
And love he did. He loved throwing parties at the Hall Road house he and Kathleen poured so much hard work into, playing bocce on the court he built himself and talking trash until late into the night, taking trips to Carpinteria and drinking margaritas on the beach with the Hazlewoods, cooking delicious meals for family and friends that lasted all night, golfing in the Keith Family Golf Tournament and making sure the beer cart was full, playing with all the nieces and nephews and then great nieces and great nephews who all affectionately called him “Uncle Tim”, dancing in the crowd at weddings, dancing alone at home with his wife while telling his children how much he loved her.
It is true that Tim is gone too soon, but it is also true that he lives on in all the lives he touched. He would not want his loved ones to get lost in mourning him. He would want them to celebrate the life he lived and to follow his example: live and love fully, without regrets.
Starkey Family Fund