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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Tributes to popular Cockermouth tradesman George

A well-known Cockermouth painter and decorator has died after losing a two-year battle with bowel cancer.

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CHARACTER: George Starkie

George Starkie, 60, of Vicarage Lane, died on February 26.

His funeral took place on March 2 at Distington Crematorium and was attended by about 400 people.

The Rev Ken Kitchin said that Mr Starkie was “a loving husband and an irreplaceable dad”.

Mr Starkie was born in Workington and was son of the late Annie Starkie, who ran the Black Cock pub in Eaglesfield, near Cockermouth, until her death last year.

He grew up in Eaglesfield and attended Paddle School and then Derwent School, Cockermouth.

He joined the merchant navy at the age of 15 and travelled the world, and then he became a milkman.

At 17 he started his own painting and decorating business, initially knocking door to door to get work, but it grew by word of mouth and he had customers as far away as Penrith.

He met his wife Dot through a job at the Bridge Hotel at Buttermere in 1977 and took her to an Italian restaurant in Carlisle for a first date after doing a trial run with his mother the week before.

They had a son Adam in 1987 and married in 1988 at Cockermouth Register Office.

They then moved around Cockermouth and the surrounding area, starting in Greysouthen before going to a bed and breakfast in Crown Street, then moving to Rose Lane, Brigham, Eaglesfield and finally Vicarage Lane.

Mr Starkie was a very fit man and was a keen sailor, cyclist and fell walker, an avid follower of rugby and read a lot about history but he was diagnosed with bowel cancer two years ago.

Mrs Starkie said: “It was a big shock when you think how healthy he was because he didn’t smoke or drink.

“However, he was extremely positive throughout the whole thing which did help me.”

Mrs Starkie said it was her husband’s character that made him so popular with friends and customers.

She said: “He was a good worker and very easy going.

“He would always offer that extra value and most of his customers became his friends which is why we have had around 300 cards from people who knew him.

“He was very pleasant, thoughtful and would do anything for anybody.

“He had time for everybody and he could speak to any person and it didn’t matter what background they were from.”

Mr Kitchin added: “He faced the disease in his usual and optimistic way. He faced it with courage and with gratitude for all who cared for him.

“George was first and foremost a family man. He looked after his mother and he was a good and faithful son to her.

“He was a loving husband and best friend to Dorothy and an irreplaceable dad to Adam with whom he had a very special and close friendship.

“George was known as a man who had a great sense of humour, was thoughtful, kind and caring and never had a bad word to say.”

Mr Starkie’s friend George Davison paid tribute to him at his funeral.

He said: “The word character is often used too readily but George was a character in the truest sense of the word. I doubt whether we will see the likes of him again.

“He had time for a crack with anyone and made an impression on everyone he came into contact with.

“He was generous in mind and spirit but with a wicked sense of fun.

“An eternal optimist he was always willing to try something new with enthusiasm.

“Dot had her work cut out trying to keep him under control but she is the best thing that could have happened to him.

“George and I had a common love of music especially blues and I am sure he will be driving around in a Citroen 2 CV van with a CD blasting it out. He would not want anybody to be sad.

“He was just simply a good friend. We didn’t just share a name we also shared the same sense of fun. He was one of the good guys.”

Have your say

A lovely lovely man, he joined the Merchant Navy with James (Jimmy) Rooney from Salterbeck. So glad we got in touch this past two years and had many a chat about our 'Family Ancestry' God Bless you George.

Posted by Karen Rooney on 16 March 2012 at 12:26

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