By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Featured Obituary: Former Bulldog celebrated his full life to the very end

At the end of his 17-year-battle with multiple sclerosis Jeffrey Starnes, 61, could no longer run, sail or read, but he was surrounded and supported by his other great love - people. "He collected people, young and old," said his wife Joyce. Many he befriended and helped over the years would faithfully visit during the last year when he was mainly confined to rehabilitation centers and a nursing home. This was a great comfort, said Joyce, that and all agree his spirit is free of a body that had come to betray it.

Jeffrey, an Athens native and Georgia Bulldog enthusiast, made Conyers his home shortly after he graduated from the University of Georgia Law School. Besides practicing law, he was active in the Rotary Club, the Boys and Girls Club and Trinity Baptist Church. After the MS diagnosis, they decided to enjoy life as much as possible, including vacationing and sailing in the Caribbean twice a year. Taking an early disability retirement nine years ago, Starnes delivered for Meals on Wheels up until he couldn't drive any longer.

What Joyce loved most about Starnes was his love for his children and hers. Their marriage was the second for both, and she marveled over their "snowballing extended family." Even her former in-laws would be disappointed if Starnes wasn't along for a visit. His children would come to him with their disappointments, and he encouraged them to "shake it off...crying doesn't help one bit...enjoy what you have and don't worry about the rest." Joyce said she and his daughter, Ashley, reminded one another of this after his memorial service.

Starnes stood by his philosophy till the end. According to Joyce, he never once complained about his afflictions or limitations. Even mostly wheelchair bound and unable to read, Starnes remained positive.

Jim Morgan, a longtime friend who gave the eulogy at Starnes' memorial service February 20, concluded, "Jeff, is up there ahead of us, running effortlessly, laughing and shouting for us to catch up, leading the way - Just like Jesus was ahead of those disciples walking on the Emmaus Road. His body has turned to dust, and he is free, and whole, and happy. For him death and suffering are past. Sorrow is no more. Sail on, Jeffrey. We will catch up with you later."

Jeff is survived by his loving family: wife Joyce of Roswell; parents C.A. and Virginia of Athens; son Andy, wife Mary Evelyn, and grandchildren Ella Kathryn and Woody of Marietta; daughter Ashley, husband Jason, and grandson Max of Dunwoody; brother Steve of Athens; and step-sons Brandon Bates of Marietta and Justin Bates of Dunwoody.