Elizabeth “Betty” Ann Milligan Starnes passed peacefully from life to eternal LIFE at home with family and loving caregivers by her side on May 21, 2020. Born in 1934 to the late Matthew Ransford Milligan and Cleo Elizabeth Douglas Milligan, she was raised in Charleston, SC, and graduated from Winthrop College. Upon completing her degree, she accepted a job with Tennessee Eastman Corporation and moved to Kingsport, TN.
Betty met the love of her life in Sunday School at First Broad Street United Methodist Church. She and Ronnie (William Ronald Starnes) were married in September 1959. After the birth of their first daughter Betty chose to be a full-time homemaker. In addition to raising two daughters she was an active volunteer serving as a Brownie leader, PTA president, librarian at First Broad Street United Methodist Church, Friendship Diner ministry, and parent coordinator for Intercity Ballet Company. One of her favorite titles was “Grandma”. She faithfully attended a myriad of musical performances, ballets, and other activities as long as her health would allow. She and Ronnie enjoyed driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway and other scenic drives in the area and she became an avid University of Tennessee football and Atlanta Braves baseball fan. Betty enjoyed participating in Bible studies at her church and her daughter’s home for many years. In her written words from one such study, “I long to see You face to face in all your glory.”
Betty was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, her parents, her daughter, Karen Kay Starnes, and her sister, Martha Milligan Huckabee.
She is survived by her daughter, Diane Starnes Hawkins and husband Andy; granddaughters Jordan, Caroline, and Dede; nieces Jan Hickman Stair and Kathy Hickman Huff and nephews Bill Peeples and Bob Peeples.
The family extends a special thanks to Barbara Bralley, Peter Wirt, and Telisa Nelms who have been loving and faithful caregivers for the Starnes family for several years and who have become family to them. The family also thanks Bruce Vincent, MD and staff, Jim Littlejohn, MD, and Smoky Mountain Home Health and Hospice for their loving care.
Graveside service will be private on Sunday, May 24, at noon at Oak Hill Memorial Park with Reverend Randy Frye and Reverend Jack Weikel officiating.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to First Broad Street UMC, 100 E. Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660 (earmark donations for “Friendship Diner”) or to the charity of your choice.
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