Shirley Condit Starkey was born on Christmas Day 1933 in Tucson, AZ. She is the youngest of four children born to Mabel and Edwin Condit. She attended school in Tucson from kindergarten to the University of Arizona. She graduated with a BA in Elementary Education in 1955. The following year, she married her college sweetheart, James E. Starkey, a career Army officer. They embarked on an adventuresome life that included living in Germany and Iran and six other states. They have four children, two of whom were born in Iran. The two tours in Iran, during the time of the Shah, resulted in two books on the subject, “The Scorpion Stings” and “The Monkey Drowns.” A third book, published this year, is called “I Married a Soldier.” It is the true story of the experiences a family deals with when living the nomadic military life.
When Ms. Starkey’s mother-in-law’s illness required her husband to retire from the Army in order to care for her, the family returned to Tucson. Finding an absence of elder care facilities available, the Starkeys started La Casa Esperanza Supervisory Care Homes. Over a twenty-year period and three facilities, they were able to care for over 500 residents, many of whom were relatives and parents of their friends. In addition to managing the three care homes, Ms. Starkey briefly owned Columbia Estate Appraisals.
Ms. Starkey is a talented watercolorist, an enthusiastic Duplicate Bridge player and chief cheerleader of her seven grandchildren. After 58 years of marriage, she became a widow. She lives alone with her two dogs, a pug named Taichi and a mixed breed named Abby.
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