Starnes, Paul Malvine

Longtime State Representative

Friday, January 9, 2015
Paul Starnes
Paul Starnes

Paul Malvine Starnes, 80, was born to James Albert and Helen Hudgens Starnes on December 31, 1934, and died January 9, 2015.

He is survived by Mary Grace Feezell Starnes, his devoted wife of 50 years, and it was their compatible natures, a shared philosophy, and common visions and goals, that brought them true happiness. Members of his beloved family include his brother, Ronald (Ethel) and their children David (Rhea Jeanne) and daughter Hannah, Michael (Valeska) and their children Madison and Phillip, and Susan (Arch) Howell and sons Will and Sam Pesterfield; his sister Dr. Carolyn Starnes (Steve) Vincent and their sons Richard and Ivan; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Elizabeth Hope Feezell (William) Smith, and his special friend of Jarrell Bowers. He was preceded in death by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Sam L. Feezell (Nancy).

Determination and perseverance were imbedded in his being and brought to him extraordinary joy in achievement which was attained by his hard work and the keen element of focused planning.

His respect for all of God’s creation was at the core of his response to daily life. He was, in fact, a man of faith and action. He was a willing servant to all people regardless of age, color, creed, or position. He developed a warm relationship with anyone he met which allowed him to enjoy a broad base of friends. He depended on them to help him in developing organizations, assisting a cause, or caring for the less fortunate.

Paul believed in accenting good things to achieve even better things and was often called the great compromiser because of his willingness to bring people together for the general good; he practiced true democracy in every aspect of his life.

Needs of the society, the community, and the individual citizens propelled him to choose his career in the field of education, to seek public office, to become an active member of the United Methodist Church and other organizations that supported his strong values; he especially addressed the physical and mental issues surrounding the populace.

Paul was a graduate of Central High School, Hiwassee College, Tennessee Wesleyan College (senior class president, Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities) and the University of Chattanooga. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 1981. Paul was a teacher at McMinn County High School and East Ridge High School; an assistant principal at East Ridge Junior High; a Dean of Students at Hiwassee College; Coordinator of Special Projects, Community Relations Officer, Director of Student Services and Educational Development, Assistant to three Superintendents and Board Information Officer for Hamilton County Department of Education. He held membership in Phi Delta Kappa; Hamilton County, East Tennessee (President), and National Education Associations; Tennessee and American Association of School Supervisors and Administrators. He served as Chairman of Career and Technical Education Advisory Council for Hamilton County Department of Education.  proofed

Paul served in the Tennessee Legislature as State Representative for Chattanooga, 31st District from 1972 to 1990. He was a member of the Education Committee (18 years), House General Welfare Committee (18 years, Chairman 12 years), House-Senate Joint Committee on Vocational Education (Chairman 1977-82), House Calendar and Rules Committee (1978-90), Education Oversight Committee (1984-90), House-Senate Joint Committee to study Medicaid Program (Chairman 1981-84), House-Senate Joint Committee to Study Primary Health Care, House-Senate Joint Committee on Vocational Education (Chairman 1977-82), Drug and Alcohol Abuse Insurance Study Committee, Medical Malpractice Study Committee, Indigent Care Study Committee among several others. He was Democratic Whip 1973-74).

Other State, regional, and national groups include National Conference of State Legislatures (Chairman of Health and Welfare Committee), National Center for Health Service Research (consultant and participant for ten years, National Academy of Science, Committee member to study allied health professions of the country, American Medical Association study committee to produce document Health Policy Agenda for the American People (one of three legislators nationwide), Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Adolescent Pregnancy Task Force for Southern Legislative Conference, American Medical Association Task Force Special Committee on Health Care Containment, Resource person/moderator Third Annual Southern Legislators Conference on Children and Youth, Advisory Committee for Intergovernmental Health Policy Project at George Washington University, Chancellor’s Roundtable for University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis.

Paul was a member of more than fifty boards and commissions including Tennessee Advisory Council on Libraries, Chairman; Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bi-centennial Library, Chairman; WTCI Channel 45, Chairman; University of Chattanooga Foundation, UTC Arena Advisory Board, Chairman; Tennessee Partners in Education, Chairman; East Tennessee Area Health Education Center, Chairman; Southern Institute on Children and Families, Vice Chairman; AIM (Achievement, Independence, Motivation), Chairman; Team Evaluation Center; Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation; Frye Institute; Board of Associates, Chattanooga State Technical Community College; Chattanooga Cares; Senior Neighbors, Chairman; East Ridge Education Committee; Tennessee Council on Technical-Vocational Education, Vice Chairman for ten years; National Dropout Prevention Network; Chattanooga Regional Council of Governments; Tennessee Association of Proprietary Business Schools, President; Tuition Guaranty Fund, Chairman; Tennessee Hospital Association Council; Southeast Tennessee Ryan White Consortium; Humana East Ridge Hospital Board; Chattanooga Human Services Board; JFK Club; East Ridge City Bank and The Bank of East Ridge Boards.

Paul was a member of McFarland United Methodist Church from 1944 until his death. He was conference delegate to two General Conferences (world-wide), three Jurisdictional Conferences, and 27 consecutive Holston Annual Conferences. He served on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministries of The United Methodist Church (world-wide) for four years; Holston Conference Board of Higher Education (Chairman), Holston Conference College Board of Trustees (Chairman); Tennessee Wesleyan College Board of Trustees (Chairman); Tennessee Wesleyan College Board (Chairman), Hiwassee College Board; Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, Chairman.

As a young man, he recognized the enormous influence of civic/service organizations and became a member of the Kiwanis Club of East Ridge (President 1964 and 1971), The Kiwanis Club of Madisonville, Tennessee, (President); Kentucky-Tennessee District Vocational Guidance Committee (Chairman), Coordinator of Youth Services, and Builders Clubs, Chairman; only Kiwanian to serve four terms as Lieutenant Governor in two divisions (1966, 68, 72, 73, 74), East Ridge Kiwanian of the Year and Most Outstanding Kiwanian in last ten years in East Ridge (1978); became an organizer of Key Clubs, Circle K Clubs and Builder’s Clubs.

Paul received over 100 awards including 10 Legislator of the Year awards (among them were those from the Southern Health Association, Tennessee Social Workers Association, National Alliance on Mentally Ill Tennessee, and Tennessee Home Health Care Association). He was chosen as East Ridge Outstanding Citizen, Monroe County Most Outstanding Young Man, Tennessee’s Most Outstanding Young Teacher, National Volunteer of the Year from Public Broadcasting System; Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society Award for Outstanding Service to Non-medical Person for service to the Medical Community; Special Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of 9-1-1 in the State of Tennessee; E. Harper Johnson Human Relations Award presented by Tennessee Education Association; State Intellectual Freedom Award; Tennessee Association of Primary Health Care Centers Award for Leadership; Friend of Nursing, Council of Nurses in Advanced Practice, Vanderbilt University; Epilepsy Foundation of America Outstanding Achievement in Government Service Award; Honorary American Farmer; Region IV Head Start Tennessee Community Humanitarian; Certificate of Merit (highest recognition by Hiwassee College); Alumni of the Year from Hiwassee College and Tennessee Wesleyan College; Honorary member of Alpha Eta Society (Memphis Chapter).

He was a published author in several journals and his biographical materials were listed in sixteen publications such as ­Who’s Who in Health Care, Who’s Who in American Politics, and Community Leaders of  the world. He did over 30 conference presentations to groups such as National Rural Health Association, Vanderbilt University Institute for Public Policy Studies, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, National Nutritional Foods Association.

Lifelong acquaintances cannot forget his early entrepreneur spirit, work ethic, and self responsibility when at the age of 10 he proudly arranged to remove ashes from his neighbors’ stoves for five cents a visit.

In his pre-teen years he gave great care to his rabbits which he fed by pulling his red wagon to the grocery stores to salvage aged vegetables.

He was an inspiration then and later for when he became crippled and blind he was still wonderful to visit in order to experience his conversations, clear wit, kind words, great stories, thoughtful reactions, and to hear him whistle beautiful melodies with precision and delicate interpretation.

The family wishes to express their appreciation to neighbors, friends, therapists, nurses and wonderful care givers for their enormous support and for the care and compassion shown by his physicians.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, Jan. 10, from 3-5 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 East Brainerd Road.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 2 p. m. in the funeral home chapel. Interment will be in Pisgah Cemetery, Decatur, Tn. following the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to charities and institutions of your choice.   

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