Steven "Mike" Starnes

Obituary of Steven "Mike" Michael Starnes

Steven “Mike” Starnes - So, yes it came to an end on May 14, 2022.  Cancer was the cause.  We had a battle for over six years and a big fight it was.  I learned cancer is a monster.

In thinking about my life, I came to realize that I was very lucky.  I know that I have lived in the best time in all of human history.  My parents, Oren Guy and Thelma, raised me and kept me safe.  I was never hungry or cold.  My circumstances were much better than many others.

There were many institutions which contributed to my life.  Of all the institutions, schools were the most important.  Rye Cove Elementary and Rye Cove High School set me on a path of life-long learning.  East Tennessee State University completed my formal education and gave me the skills I needed to earn a living.  It allowed me to return to Rye Cove High School to teach for thirty years.

Teaching was the most rewarding and at the same time the most frustrating job ever.  It was the most rewarding when everything clicked, and the students became excited to learn something new.  It was the most frustrating when things did not click, and we had to continue at a slower pace.  I was always proud of the students I had.  They grew and matured to take their place in society.  It made me so happy when my former students did well because it meant I did not mess them up too badly.  I do believe I learned more from my students than they learned from me.

I loved the outdoors and spent time camping and hiking.  I was most at peace in the woods, and I never went into the woods hiking that I failed to see something amazing.  For me God was present on those outings into the outdoors.

I was a member of the Johnson City Radio Controllers.  I learned to build and fly radio-controlled airplanes.  I became a FAA certified drone pilot.  I flew my drone around doing photography.  I spent my life trying to take the perfect picture.  I never accomplished that goal, but I had great fun trying.  Going along with radio control I decided to get my HAM license.  My call is KE4GFP.

The most important thing in my life was my wife, Linda.  Due to various health problems, we often had some very challenging years but we battled.  We did have one child, Matthew, who lived one day.  Things are not always easy.  Linda was the love of my life and she got us through our obstacles.  We shared a love for animals and had numerous dogs and cats over the years. We were members of Concordia Lutheran Church for 46 years.

I am very thankful for having the greatest brother ever, Allen.  He worked hard helping me in my last days.  His wife, Jennifer, also was great help to me.  They really made things easier.

I believe we should always live life to the fullest, try new things, and learn something new each day.  Many friends helped me through my last days.  Some of them were Donnie Qualls, Sheila King, Joy Davidson, Rolland Bowles, Jamie Carter, Gaye Owens, Susan Greear, Norman Davis, Curt Brownlee, Joy Wood, Rollin Dykes, Carol Robinette, and Pastor Scottie Burkhalter, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.  I love you all.  To all my former students, I love you.  You have made me proud to have known you.

Many thanks to the hospice nurses, Amanda, Teresa and Tiffany.  You made the final days much easier.

Remember me when you feel God’s presence and peace like I did during my numerous outdoor activities.


Carter Trent Funeral Home Church Hill has the honor of serving the Starnes family.

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