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First Christian Church
Sunday November 26th, 2017
3:00pm - 5:00pm

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Celebration of Life

First Christian Church
Sunday November 26th, 2017
5:00pm - 12:00pm

View Details

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Dr. Craig A. Starnes

Dr. Craig A. Starnes, D.D.S., age 62 years, of Jefferson City, Mo., passed away Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at home surrounded by his family after a courageous battle with cholangiocarcinoma cancer.

Craig was born January 30, 1955 in Bonne Terre, Mo. the son of Bruce M. and Dorotha G. (Barnhouse) Starnes. He was married on June 27, 1981 in Jefferson City, Mo. to Rita G. Ruth.

Craig graduated Mehlville High School in St. Louis, Mo., in 1973 and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Missouri at St. Louis in 1977. He graduated from the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Dentistry in 1981. Craig began his dental practice in South St. Louis County in 1981.

He moved to Linn, Mo. and began Dr. Craig Starnes, D.D.S. in 1992, where he continued to practice dentistry for the next 25 years. Ill health forced his retirement in January 2017. He loved being a dentist, found his work interesting and rewarding, and formed strong bonds with his patients. He enjoyed golf, fishing, photography, and family vacations to the beach and the mountains.

Craig was always ready with a joke and liked competing in and winning trivia challenges. He cherished above all else, his time with his family, and especially his grandchildren who called him “Pops.” He selflessly gave to his family and his community.

He was a member of the First Christian Church; a member of the Missouri Dental Association; a member of the American Dental Association; and a member and past President of the Central Missouri Dental Society. Craig was also a member of the Capital Region Board of Governors and the Linn Lions Club. Craig was proud to start the Linn Lions Club Youth Soccer League in Linn and played a critical role in establishing soccer at Linn High School.

Craig was a lifelong supporter of the Boy Scouts. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a young man. As an adult he was a Cub Scout Master, Boy Scout Leader and a District Commissioner. Through his dedication and guidance to Scouting, both of his sons earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Survivors include: his wife of thirty-six years, Rita Starnes; two sons, Ryan Starnes and his wife Anita of Dallas, Texas and Brent Starnes and his significant other, Arie Mielkus of Gunbarrel, Colorado; two grandchildren, Camille Starnes and Cora Mielkus-Starnes and another granddaughter, Isabella Starnes due in January 2018; one brother, Bruce Starnes, II and his wife Ellen of Imperial, Mo.; one sister, Beth Marler and her husband Phillip of St. George, Ut.; his father and mother-in-law, John and Lois Ruth of Jefferson City, Mo.; two brothers-in-law, John Ruth of Jefferson City, Mo and Mitch Ruth and his wife Vicky of Jefferson City, Mo.; eight nieces and nephews, Bruce Starnes, III, Stephanie Moore, Sara Marler, Alex Marler, John Ruth, Travis Ruth, Caleb Ruth, and Katie Ruth.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister-in-law, Michelle Ruth. Visitation will be at the First Christian Church in Jefferson City from 3:00 until 5:00 pm Sunday, November 26, 2017.

A Celebration of Craig’s Life will be conducted at 5:00 pm Sunday, November 26, 2017 at the First Christian Church with the Reverend Beau Underwood officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the First Christian Church or the Dr. Craig Starnes Scholarship Fund at Osage County R-2 at Linn, Mo.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Freeman Mortuary.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Craig Starnes, please visit our flower store.


I am so sorry for your loss. We knew Dr. Starnes through his dentist office in Linn. My kids grew up having him as their dentist. They loved going to him and the little things he did that meant so much. His office always sent them birthday cards and any time they were in the paper for the honor roll, sports, etc he would send the clipping in a little card and tell them how proud he was. He was a great man and you could see the good, humble person in everything he did. I wish there were more people in the work like him. He was a great man and will be missed. I am glad my kids and I had the chance to know him, I am deeply sorry for your loss.

Kristy Shepherd Nov 29 2017 12:00 AM

Some people leave a beautiful lasting memory on each person they meet; Craig was one of those people. What a gift he was to our community; his influence was positive and profound and will be long-lasting! We are praying for Gods comfort for you in the coming days. Jim and Mary Ann Burns

Jim and Mary Ann Burns Nov 26 2017 12:00 AM

What a very nice man. I'm sorry for your loss . I pray the Lord comfort the family during this difficult time.

Tammy Shultz Nov 22 2017 12:00 AM