Cover photo for Dr. Craig A. Starnes's Obituary
Dr. Craig A. Starnes Profile Photo

Dr. Craig A. Starnes

d. November 21, 2017

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

Past Services


Sunday, November 26, 2017

3:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Sunday, November 26, 2017

5:00 - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 17

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree