Dr. James William Stark, Ph.D. passed away peacefully at 94-years old on August 7, 2022. Frances (Gay) Stark, his wife of 65 years was his caretaker and champion throughout his long journey with Alzheimer’s disease.
Jim was born in Tarentum, Pennsylvania to Howard S. Stark and Ethel M. (Elcock) Stark. Jim was the second child and only son and had three sisters Jean, Joann, and Janet. Following his graduation from Tarentum High School, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Hospital Corps in WWII (1946 - 1948). Throughout his life, Jim expressed a deep gratitude for his time in the service and especially for the G.I. Bill, which provided him with the life-changing opportunity to attend college. Jim received his Bachelors of Science degree in 1951 from Grove City College in Pennsylvania. After graduation, Jim drove to Santa Monica California and began his professional life at Hughes Aircraft in El Segundo. He later moved to Litton Industries as a Project Manager and Senior Staff Engineer.
Jim had a passion for education which inspired him to pursue a Masters of Business Administration (1958) and Masters of Public Administration (1964) from the University of Southern California. It was during his time at Litton that Jim began teaching in the Aerospace Safety Division graduate program at USC. Jim went on to earn a Ph.D. in International Economics (1966) and later a second Ph.D. in Human Behavior (1979).
In the 1970’s, Jim left Litton, and joined the faculty at Pepperdine University full-time. He taught in the MBA graduate and general studies programs, and received tenure in 1976. Jim also taught in the business programs at Northrop University, West Coast University, and Ambassador College. Overseas teaching assignments included: Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Hawaii, Jamaica, and Saudi Arabia. Jim was a popular and compassionate Professor dedicated to inspiring and mentoring his students. Jim also supported the higher education of all four of his children, his son-in-law John, and his three grandchildren.
In 1957, Jim met Frances Gay, who was introduced by her sister Mary Ann, Jim’s secretary. The pair married in Santa Monica on September 7, 1958. Daughters Sandra was born in 1959, and Tracy was born in 1960. Sons Jim Jr. was born in 1966, and son Seth in 1969. Jim and Fran moved to Glendale from Manhattan Beach in the mid-1960s and were active members of the Glendale community for the next 25 years.
In 1988 Jim retired, and he and Fran moved from Glendale to Julian, California. Jim and Fran had fun renovating three homes in Julian. One of Fran and Jim’s favorite restorations was a Victorian home in Fran’s home town of New Carlisle Indiana, where they spent ten magical summers visiting family and shopping for antiques. To honor and preserve the history of this unique small town, Jim and Fran have actively supported Historic New Carlisle over the years. During their summers in New Carlisle, Jim attended the Terre Coupe Masonic Lodge. After many years in Julian, Jim and Mom moved to Ocean Hills in Oceanside, CA and then to Walnut Villages in Anaheim, where they have resided for the last eight years.
In 1996, Jim and Fran became very active volunteers for Heifer International - a non-profit organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas that provides free training to people to help them alleviate hunger through animals. Jim was also an active Mason for 70 years and served on the grounds committee for the Masonic Children’s Home in Elizabethtown Pennsylvania
In 2000, Jim was honored with the Jack Kennedy Alumni Achievement Award in the field of education from Grove City College.
Jim is survived by his wife Fran, daughter Sandra (Stark) Shields, son-in-law John Shields, granddaughter Maia Shields, and great-grandson Beckett Shields (Glendale, California), daughter Tracy (Stark) Glen and son-in-law Taggert Lee (Pasadena, California), two grandsons Cody Glen and Bryce Glen, son Seth Stark (Seattle, Washington), along with many nieces and nephews. His son Jim Stark, Jr. predeceased him in 2012. He is also predeceased by both of his parents Howard and Ethel Stark, and two of his three sisters; Jean (Gianneschi) and Joann (Shea). A third sister Janet survives him.
Jim lived a life full of service to others, love of education, travel, family and friends. He was also known for his fun sense of humor and hilarious comments and stories. His courage, good humor, and sweet disposition remained with him to the end. He will be so greatly missed.
The family would also like to give a heart-felt thank you to the staff in Walnut Villages Memory Care for their wonderful care of our Jim in his final years. We also want to thank all of Mom and Jim’s many friends at Walnut Villages for there friendship and kind support.
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