Home: Salt Lake City, Utah
Death Date: September 8, 2017
Birthdate: January 14, 1971
Place Of Birth: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Service Information: Friday, September 15, 2017 12:30 PM
Service Location: Cathedral of the Madeleine
George Earl Bruce Starks, Jr., commonly referred to as "Georgie," was a most uncommon man. He somehow managed to walk the earth for 46 years without doubting the inherent goodness of humankind.
Georgie debuted on January 14, 1971 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, the oldest son to Jane and George Starks, Sr. In 1975, the family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.
After graduating from East High School in 1989 he attended Gonzaga University. He returned to Salt Lake with a bachelor's degree in Sociology, lifelong friends, and a voracious appetite for making a difference.
And a difference he did make. Over and over. He became the Utah producer for the Slamdance Film Festival, using his own independent spirit to encourage and support independent film. He became engrained in the education publishing world, developing a leading series in summer learning activity books. Passionate about instilling positive values and healthy habits in children, he started Active Planet Kids, an active lifestyle and educational company focusing on the development of the whole child. His Summer Fit Learning books went beyond the typical, redefining academic success to include healthy living, leadership, and social responsibility.
Always one to have many irons in the fire, he opened Blue Star Juice & Coffee Café. He was driven to create a healthy, inclusive, welcoming spot. He succeeded. He was so grateful for the employees who continued to keep the Café a successful community gathering place for good coffee and conversation while he was sick.
Overwhelmingly, however, Georgie's legacy is the man he was as son, brother, uncle, and friend. To his parents, he was an incredible model of bravery and strength, supporting them through the darkest times, even during his own sickness. To his siblings, he was a selfless confidante and a loyal friend; his love for them ran deep and unconditional.
Georgie took his uncle-ing duties very seriously. His nine nieces and nephews each knew him to be a source of encouragement and low-level monkeyshines. Maleah, Gabriel, Jon David, Joseph, Noah, Maddie, Grace, Sophie, and Lucy were each loved fiercely and openly by their Uncle Georgie.
That's what Georgie did best, he loved.
His force of love was on full display when his little brother, Michael, died in 2008 during a fraternity hazing. The first to forgive, he guided us in our search to heal our souls and again see the beauty in life.
Georgie was a lifelong seeker -- of experiences, of adventure, of love, of hope. He travelled the Camino de Santiago four times, making new friends and connecting with the world beyond our own each time. His quest for knowledge, adventure and spiritual understanding was inspiring.
Georgie gave people around him the greatest gift - the ability to be themselves.
"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too." -- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
"I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Georgie is survived by his parents, Jane and George Starks (Anacortes, WA); his girlfriend, Sydney Freeman; his sisters Kelly (David) Terrill (Mesa, AZ), Megan Starks (Seattle, WA) and Mary (Mark) Reiss (Scottsdale, AZ); brother, Jason (Shayneh) Starks; Grandpa Michaels; numerous aunts; uncles; cousin; countless friends; and his whiskered buddy Black Eye.
He is preceded in death by his little brother, Michael Anthoney Smallwood Starks; Grandmothers Elizabeth Michaels and Elizabeth Starks; Grandfather George Starks; Aunts Mary Beth, Weebee and Nellie; and cousin and goddaughter Regina Sahami.
A vigil will be held on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 6:30 PM at St. Catherine of Siena, 170 South University Street, Salt Lake City. Friends are invited to celebrate Georgie's life on the church plaza immediately following.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 12:30 PM at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, 331 East South Temple, Salt Lake City. Interment to follow at Mt Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 4th Ave and "T" Street.