ADAH46.txt PENTECOSTAL PIONEERS: WILLIAM R. STARR BY MARION JUNE STARR William Richard Starr was born September 16, 1924, in Bedford, Indiana, to Hebert and Eleanor Starr. He was the firstborn. Following him were Gloria, Oweetah, Phyllis, and James. Eleanor had a very difficult birth with William and thought she would die. Then and there she dedicated him to God. Even though she wasn't a Christian at the time, she was aware of God. When Billy (as he was called then) was two years old, he was kicked in the mouth by a mule at his grandfather's farm. His gums and teeth were torn loose from his mouth. Hebert and Eleanor were frantic. Eleanor remembered her brother M. M. Hudson, who attended Brother Rowe's church in Mishawaka, Indiana, and had been baptized in Jesus' name by G. T. Haywood. He had witnessed to them many times but they weren't interested. Desperately they called for him to pray for Billy. God healed Bill so completely that a specialist who examined him asked them why they had called him. This miracle of healing opened their eyes to the power of God. In 1932 Bill was baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost, along with his parents, during J. L. Patton's revival at Pastor James Davis's church in Bedford, Indiana. A fervent little boy, William testified anointedly at an early age. He still seemed to get involved in a few fights, however. One day when his mother drove to pick him up from school, she had a slight accident while watching some boys fighting, thinking Billy was one of them. Many years later a minister reminded Billy that when he saw him go to the altar he knew that he had been in another fight. In 1938 the Starrs moved to Lansing, Michigan, and started a church in their house. In 1940 they started construction of a church on Francis Street. Bill was sixteen. He came home from high school many nights and helped make cement with salt added to keep it from freezing. He dreamed of digging and digging in the frozen ground. He said his father taught him one thing--not to build in the winter. Bill was the only saved young person in the high school he attended. He took education very seriously and felt that an Apostolic should be the best representative possible. He was on the debate team in high school and later helped his coach, T. J. Harris, coach other students. After he completed high school, he enrolled at Michigan State University. He was youth leader for a fellowship during this time. During his first semester World War II began and he was drafted at eighteen. He served three years in the Air Force. Having been healed of asthma, he was able to fly at a high altitude. He was a radio operator. During one of his missions the plane was hit by flak, knocking off his oxygen hose. The pilot heard him mumble and told someone to see about the preacher. They thought he was gone. As soon as his hose was smacked in place, he started talking as if nothing had happened. God had saved his life. In November 1945, after having been discharged from the army, he decided to travel. He went with his uncle M. M. Hudson to a convention at Christian Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Lena Spillman was pastor. I met Bill for the first time when he and Brother Hudson visited my father's church during the convention. It was just a casual meeting, and he seemed very shy. Bill went back to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and enrolled at the University of Michigan to continue his education that had been interrupted by the war. Brother and Sister Anderson moved from Indianapolis to Jackson, Michigan, and began to pastor the group turned over to them by Brother Hudson. They asked me to move to Jackson to play their music. In August 1946 I married Bill. We moved to Ypsilanti and lived in housing for married couples going to school. We had very little, but I was thrilled with that little three-room apartment. Bill's mother had collected odds and ends of furniture for us. We used crate boxes to store our many books. I had never used a woodburning cookstove in my life. I used some soft coal and smoked up the house. I turned to hot plates after that! Bill was a brilliant man but seemed to have little mechanical expertise--or at least very little interest. He decided to paint our living room while I was away. Thinking he knew what he was doing, I chose a lovely rose color. He borrowed someone's spray gun, thinking that it would be faster. When I came home, I found rose-colored furniture, and I could trace the irregular path of the spray gun as it went over the walls in deep and light paths. We laughed about the state of things, but I determined then and there that I would take care of the painting after that. His mind had a tendency to be preoccupied when working with his hands. He would often proudly tell about his wife and her toolbox. He allowed me a free hand in the house. I could tear down walls, paint, or do whatever I wanted to in the house. He would praise the finished work but wanted no part of the construction. I enjoyed the planning and redoing. In July 1947 Marcia June Starr was born. Bill received his Bachelor's degree in 1948 and his Master's degree in 1949, majoring in history. He studied Greek and Hebrew. He had plans for building a church in Chicago or some other large city. After graduation we moved to Lansing to attend his father's church until he could decide where to go. Due to a recession at this time, he had little success in finding the type of employment he wanted. He decided to take a civil service test to work for the secretary of state as a driver's license administrator for several counties. He got the position, and we moved to Coldwater. He was to be in this position for the next twenty-five years. Brother Gus Anderson asked us to take a little group in Albion, Michigan, that held services in the hall of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In the month of June 1951 my husband was voted in as pastor by three people. We organized a Sunday school with an attendance of seven people that first Sunday. Our Sunday school increased each week, with many coming from the surrounding countryside as well as the city. In October 1952, Alexa Renee Starr was born. We were happy in the work of God and with our little family. We began to feel a great need for our own church building. In 1954 we purchased property on Lincoln and Adams streets. We dug the basement, covered it over, and held services there. When it rained, the flat roof allowed the rain to come through in several places. We swept and mopped water and repaired the roof on a regular basis. God blessed, however, and sent in new souls. Many were young couples like us, and we had an abundance of children who are the backbone of the church today. Some of the many ministers who preached there were Brother and Sister Anton Huba, M. M. Hudson, Gus Anderson, Donnie Winters, Ernest Jolly, W. K. Carouthers, Howard Goss, Albert Abbey, and a host of others. There were many healings. Ernest Shaffer's father was healed of a cancer on his head when he got baptized in Jesus' name. Phyllis and Paul Woods' daughter, Wendi, was healed of a large tumor on her back and is still healed today. Dolly Young was given up to die with cancer and was even in a semicoma when God healed her, and she is still living today. Brother Starr served as youth president of the United Pentecostal Church from 1950 to 1954. He then served as presbyter until 1959. He was elected district superintendent at the age of thirty-four. He was young, but wise beyond his years. Rebecca Jean Starr was born in October 1955. In November 1957, Priscilla Eleanor was born. Bill was very busy. He still worked for the state, was district superintendent, and pastored. On his way to work in the morning he would drop the girls off at school. This was the time he used for quizzing them about their grades and admonishing them to look straight at the teacher. Every morning before the girls left for school we prayed with them and asked God to protect their minds. When the girls were old enough to date, he gave them money. He told them to buy their own hamburger or take a taxi home if the boy did not behave himself. He also told them not to order too much in a restaurant because the boy might not have much money. He loved his girls and was interested in every part of their lives. When they were married and were pastors' wives, he would wait Sunday night after church for their calls to find out how many got saved and how many were in Sunday school. His usual question was, "Have the girls checked in?" He was a loving husband, romantic, and very respectful of my opinion. Sometimes he liked to play jokes on the girls. We had a screened-in area at the back of our house. One evening Alexa was reading with the light on. She came into the kitchen for something and left her book. In the meantime Bill slipped down, unscrewed the light bulb, and sat in her chair. Alexa went back and tried the light, wondering why it would not turn on. She gave up and reached for her book in the dark. When she did she touched a human hand. She let out a bloodcurdling scream, and her dad burst into laughter. In February 1965 another little girl, Sara Lee, was added to the four girls. In the fall of 1965 Marcia married a young evangelist, Martyn Ballestero. This was also the year that the district made plans to build a campground, probably one of the greatest stresses in our life. The contractors went bankrupt, andbusinesses began slapping liens against the camp. The district voted to raise more money to save our camp, which had approximately one hundred acres with a mile of streets and sewers. There are seventy modern cottages, an air-conditioned dining room, educational buildings, and the William R. Starr Tabernacle, where services are held throughout most of the summer. Brother Starr was also the driving force behind the Apostolic Institute of Development, a summer Bible course for those who wanted an accelerated course of study. Brothers Mooney, Nix, Grisham, Henson, and Deeds taught various subjects, and Brother Starr taught doctrinal subjects. These brothers along with Brother Starr wrote a huge textbook. Brother Starr's sisters, Gloria Stephens and Phyllis Cornell, along with their husbands, work tirelessly for the camp, scouting out equipment. Brother Starr served as associate editor of the Michigan District News for thirty years, with his sister Gloria Stephens serving as editor for thirty-four years. He was on the General Board for twenty-eight consecutive years. He also served one two-year term as executive presbyter and then another as executive presbyter for the eastern part of the United States. One year he wrote for the Sunday school Division. He served on the Budget Committee as well as on the Judicial Committee. He wrote sermons for the Albion Journal and a pamphlet on the Godhead. Brother Starr was known in the district for his half glasses. He had an unusual way of thrusting his arms straight up when he reached the pulpit and saying, "Praise the Lord!" My husband was a most articulate speaker. He had a way with words and could say more with the least words. He had some unusual sayings. One of them was, "I would rather go to bed with a wet, mangy dog than a guilty conscience." Another was, "Don't pay a false doctrine preacher to go to hell. Go free of charge." Brother Starr was a dedicated man of the gospel. He was the happiest when going to church and working in some capacity connected with the church. He was a fiery preacher and usually hit the pulpit preaching. He ended quickly. Our daughter Alexa was now married to a young preacher, Fredrick Olson, from Texas. In 1973, having need of larger facilities, we purchased a large Baptist church on the main street of town. It was a beautiful church and Brother Starr loved it. In 1974 our daughter Rebecca married evangelist David Trammell, who is now the pastor of Christ Apostolic Church of Albion. Our daughter Priscilla is married to evangelist Curtis Spears, and our youngest, Sara, is married to evangelist Tom Copple. We have fourteen grandchildren: Anthony, Bryan, Martyn, Marisa, and Andrew Ballestero; Aaron and Shauna Olson; Marcus and Farrah Trammell; Brittany, Ashley, Charity, and Natalie Hutchison; and Sharayah Copple. Anthony and Bryan are now preaching. Our grandchildren are fifth-generation Apostolics. Brother Starr enjoyed his preacher sons-in-law. At Christmas time we had tag-team preaching on the service before Christmas. He called them by number: son-in-law number one, number two, and so on according to age. They all sat on the platform together. The saints enjoyed hearing them. III John 4 describes how we felt about our children: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." It was little over a month after a great Christmas with the family that at age sixty-two Brother Starr died suddenly with a massive heart attack. His funeral was held in the large chapel of Albion College. The newspaper said over 1,600 people attended the funeral and that it was one of the largest ever in Albion. Many preachers came from as far as California and Mississippi, and some could not get a flight because of a snowstorm. Our general superintendent, Nathaniel Urshan, flew to Chicago and rented a car to get to the funeral. Many Executive Board members called our home. Sister Helen Cole called me from Australia. The city of Albion banned parking for two blocks around the church for those who went to see Brother Starr lying in state at the church. Brother Starr's only goal in life was to do as much as possible for God. Everything he did he wanted to count for God. His life made an impact on his own brother and sisters, his nieces and nephews, and our own children and grandchildren. My children quote him, and I find myself constantly referring to something he taught or said. My son-inlaw David and daughter Rebecca are carrying on with the church with great spiritual outpouring. Brother Starr loved his saints and would be happy that they are moving on. My daughters and sons-in-law have been a great source of comfort and inspiration. Brother Starr's great ministry left its mark in the lives he touched. "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (II Timothy 4:8). Amen! THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS COMPILED BY MARY H. WALLACE, AND PUBLISHED BY WORD AFLAME PRESS, 1992, PAGES 243-251. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.