PAPA, (John Logan Starks, by his daughter Fern)
Colaborador: shirlbur Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
John Logan Starks was born May 13, 1891 at Blossom, Texas to James Lewis and Sarah Jane Wallace Starks. He was the fourth child of five boys and one girl.
One day in the year of 1905, Papa's father went to visit one of his brothers and his family. Their baby was very ill with the croup, almost choking to death. The father-in-law was a member of the church, and seeing how sick the child was, had asked the missionaries to come and give the child a blessing. As soon as the blessing was over, the child completely recovered. This impressed our grandfather very much. He invited the missionaries to come to his home to teach the gospel to his family. The Elders were only able to get to their area just a couple of times, but they taught the family the principles of the gospel and studied the scriptures together.
In May, grandfather and grandmother were both baptized. In January, 1906, Papa was baptized. Even though ice had to be broken on the river for Papa to be baptized, he said he didn't notice how cold the water was because he was so very happy to be baptized. He had been very impressed with the way the mission¬aries lived, the kind of people they were. He made the decision at the tender age of thirteen that this was the way he wanted to live his life. He made this way of life a goal to work toward. He did what he knew was right, made mistakes as all mortals do, but always lived the best he knew how.
Papa came from a gentle and loving family. He was always kind, gentle, and loving; considerate and thoughtful to all he knew and especially to his family. He was quiet and soft spoken, but his words had a lot of meaning. He was optimistic and looked at the good things he had. He never wasted time and energy longing for what he did not have. He truly tried always to live the golden rule. When a wrong was done to him, he quickly forgave and felt sorry for that person, that he had chosen to live their life in that manner.
Papa's father died one year of his baptism. Therefore, at the age of fourteen, Papa helped assume responsibility of caring for the family. His people were farmers and Papa worked hard and contributed all he could. He learned early to be self-sufficient. Papa never stopped to ask “If” he could do it or not, but when something needed to be done, he would work at it until he had learned to do it. We children grew up with this philosophy. Whatever needed to be done, we did it the best we could.
The family moved to Enoch, Texas where there was a small branch of the church. The family was happy here where they could attend their church meetings and associate with other church members. There were two members that caught the eye of Papa and one of his brothers, William, two beautiful sisters. Papa began dating the older of the two, but was impressed more with the younger one. Soon he was dating her. The older brother of Papa, dated the older sister and soon they were married. It wasn't very long before Papa knew this beautiful girl was the one meant for him, the one he wanted to spend his life with.
Their first date was the fourth of July picnic, and they were married July 5th. They would often tease that they met on the fourth and married on the fifth. Of course there was a year difference. Papa and Mama (Cora Orlena Sneed),
were married July 5, 1911, at the little white church in Enoch, Texas. All their friends and family were present. Mama and Papa never had much money or material wealth; their wealth lay with their deep love for each other and the happiness they shared. Their eight children were a great happiness to them.
Papa was an optimistic person; he always looked on the good side of life. He saw the good in people and he never said a harsh word about anyone. He was grateful for the things he had. He deeply loved his good wife, his children, his in-laws, grandchildren, great, and great-great grandchildren.
Thelma was born February 4, 1912; two months premature weighing only 2 pounds. The doctors gave no hope of keeping her. But Mama, at age 15, worked with her. Papa gathered catnip and they made it into a tea. They gave her a little catnip every little while and the determination of both of them pulled her through. She is still living today with a fine husband and four children,
Thelma remembers well the stories Papa would tell her and the other children. She also remembers the many times Papa would leave his work in the evenings
to help her with her studies. They both loved math and enjoyed doing it together. Papa did not have many years of formal education, but he was a self-learned man. When they came across a problem they could not solve, they worked at it until they figured it out. One time they worked for quite a while on one real tough problem, finally figuring it out. The next day at school the teacher was very impressed with this because she could not figure out how to do the problem herself.
Othar, the first son and second child, was born February 15, 1915. He was a strong, healthy, happy boy. He brought much joy into the home. Being the oldest boy, a lot of responsibility was placed on him. Othar spent many hours helping Papa in the fields and learned well to do whatever needed to be done. At a very young age, he could be depended on to go to town to purchase farm parts or whatever else that was needed. This has carried on through his life and with his family of seven boys and two girls.
Odas, the second son and third child, was born April 11, 1917. He was Papa's little shadow. Odas thought he was as big as his brother and thought he should go along with Papa and Othar to be included in everything they did. He later had a family of four boys himself. These three men of the Starks family; Papa, Othar, and Odas, grew together and became very close. They were very protective of the women in the family.
Fannie, the second daughter and fourth child, was born February 17, 1919. She was always the talented one of the family. She could draw, paint, and make anything she made up her mind to make. Papa was very proud of her abilities. Fannie was a great babysitter for us younger children. She was always a happy and pleasant person. She was a lot of help to Mama in caring for us younger children.
Sybil, the third daughter and fifth child, was born February 24, 1922. She has always been a special help to Mama and Papa. She has been the one to care for them for many years. She feels this is a very special privilege. Sybil, Karl her husband, and their four children, have been happy to have them in their home and partake of the blessings that have come to them by having Mama and Papa in their home. We, as the rest of the family, appreciate all that they have done.
Audrey, born February 12, 1924; Fern, born January 29, 1926; Linnea, born January 7, 1928, were the three youngest children of the family. They were known as the three musketeers of the John Starks family. We three were full of mischief, and hard to keep up with. I'm afraid I (Fern) was the leader of most of the capers. We did most everything together. We spent a lot of our time helping in the fields, as did all the other children. Papa always felt very bad that we had to work so hard, but we have all been grateful that we learned how to work. Audrey has five children, Fern has six and Linnea has eight.
Mama and Papa were always very close and worked together. Mama was a great helpmate and supported Papa in everything. After Mama and Papa had been married several years, they moved to Cox's, Texas. This was quite a long distance from the church, therefore we did not have many opportunities to attend. We were all very happy when the missionaries found their way to our home to teach us more of the gospel. The Elders organized a Sunday School in our home and later a Branch was organized in Gilmer, Texas. Many times Papa would be the only priesthood bearer there. He would have to conduct, administer and pass the sacrament.
The decision that Papa made at the age of thirteen to live the best he knew, stayed with him all his life. He tried to learn and benefit from his mistakes. It was a great joy to Papa and Mama when they were able to go to Salt Lake and be sealed in the Lord's temple. Their daughter Audrey, and her husband, were married in the Salt Lake Temple at the same time.
Papa amd Mama later moved to Salt Lake City. They spent fifteen years doing genealogy and temple work. They have several lines back to Adam. Papa loved to study the scriptures. He has read the standard works several times, as well as other church books. Papa loved the gospel and loved to share it with others. He was most happy when he was having a gospel conversation.
Mama and Papa taught us children the gospel the best they could. We all have many pleasant memories of the times Papa would tell us stories from the Bible and Book of Mormon. Many times as we would walk to and from the fields to work, Papa would take advantage of this time to tell us these stories. Mama taught us the gospel through example and song. She always sang the hymns. We children always felt all was right with the world when we would hear her sing the hymns.
Mama was always very devoted to Papa. She never left his side, especially during the last while when he was so very ill. He received of her strength. In all their 69 years of married life, Mama and Papa enjoyed a wealth of love and happiness. They never accumulated a lot of material wealth, but all that there was, was for the benefit of the family. Papa sacrificed many things that he might of had to give to his family. Papa's thoughts were always for the good of his family and Mama. Papa would not let anyone do anything for him that he could do for himself. Even at the last while of his life, he insisted on getting up and doing for himself whenever possible.
Papa was a farmer most all his life. In 1944, the family moved to the Bay area in California. Here Papa became a sheet metal worker. He helped at the defense shipyards during the war, and later worked in Salt Lake. He retired at the age of 65. Papa was never one to sit around, but was always a hard worker, so he began working for the church at the Welfare Square. He did not retire again until he was 85.
Papa was proud of his posterity; 8 children, 40 grandchildren, 91 great grandchildren, and 13 great-great grandchildren.
(As related by Papa's daughter Fern as a tribute at his passing on July 25, 1980)