Cover photo for Kathryn M. Starbuck's Obituary
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1929 Kathryn 2020

Kathryn M. Starbuck

July 9, 1929 — June 27, 2020

Kathryn Mariel Starbuck, nee Shick (Kitty), age 90, died on Saturday, June 27, 2020, of COVID-19. Before spending the last six years in assisted living, Kitty lived her entire life on the family farm east of Vicksburg, Michigan. Born July 9, 1929, she and her two older sisters grew up as "Brady Township Women." The "Shick Sisters" assisted their parents with the chickens, cows, hogs, and vegetable patch that kept a family going during the years of the Great Depression. Kitty and her siblings attended the one-room school just up the road and Kitty graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1946. Living in the Era of the Big Bands, a favorite family past time was dancing. Kitty met the love of her life, Marvin, at a dance hall in Glendale, Michigan. They courted in all the dance palaces to the music of Guy Lombardo, Eddy Howard, and Lawrence Welk. Ask her what "their song" was: "San Antonio Rose." Ask him: "It had to be You." When World War II ended, Marvin returned from Army service in Austria, to wed Kitty on October 23, 1950.They built their new home next door to the house Kitty grew up in, living there for 60 years, first with their two children and then with many a dog. Kitty spent her hours mowing and gardening three acres of landscape, with special attention to the lily garden. Always handy, Kitty enjoyed cake decorating and family celebrations were graced with her creations. She loved birds and flowers and many of her crafting projects featured feathers and blossoms. Her claim to crafting fame, however, was the manufacture of toy dinosaurs for the Field Museum in Chicago. Joining the Kalamazoo Geological and Mineral Society in 1960 began a lifelong devotion to the rock hobby. Kitty, along with Marve, was active in leadership of the local club and went on to serve in high positions in regional and national rock hounding organizations. Kitty served as editor-publisher of two monthly rock publications for 40 years. The couple received an award for exceptional service and achievement from the Midwest Federation of Mineralogical and Geological Societies in 2000. For decades, when they were not engaged in their rock hobby, the Starbucks were active in the Vicksburg United Methodist Church. In their later years, Kitty and Marve split their time between Michigan and the southwest. Their winter RV home in New Mexico provided ample opportunity for prime rock hunting with many dear friends. Kitty was preceded in death by her parents, Forrest and Fannie (Rifenberg) Shick; sisters Marilynn Shick and Marian Sperry. She is lovingly remembered by her husband Marvin; children Kay (Lynn) DeMoss and Dennis (Terri) Starbuck; grandchildren Nikki (Mike) Schnelle and Sara Folck; her great-grandchildren Madalyn, Chandler, Stella, and Lilah; nephew Bob (Marcie Brown) Sperry; great-nephew John (Caitlin) Sperry. Dan, Jen, and Delaney VanderPloeg and Jeff, Heidi, David and Drew DeMoss join them in grief. A gathering to celebrate Kitty's life will be held later, as conditions surrounding the pandemic allow. Memorials may be sent to Vicksburg United Methodist Church, 217 S. Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097.
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