Mary “Lou” Starke
“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22
Lou Starke, age 86, entered her heavenly home on May 31, 2021, after a long struggle with osteoporosis.
Mary Lou Pearsall was born August 1, 1934, in Minneapolis, MN. She lived many years in Minneapolis, moved to Pine River, MN and graduated from Pine River High School in 1948. Lou was a good student with interests in music and the school newspaper. She also was a lifeguard which she referred to forever. Only after decades of boasting, it was determined that the career in fact was only 3 weeks - “because it was boring.” Typical Lou, a 50 year poke in the ribs!
After high school, she moved back to Minneapolis and began working at Prudential Insurance where she met the love of her life, Frank Starke. They were married on February 6, 1960. Frank and Lou moved to Owatonna, MN where she worked at Jostens and First Bank. The gregarious couple moved back to Minneapolis where she supported Frank as he finished his college studies at the University of Minnesota and cheered on the Gophers!
Their journey together was filled with hard work, fun, and laughter. After nearly seven years together, they were blessed with a son, Paul, in 1966, and daughters, Jennifer and Cindy were born in 1969 and 1971. The family moved to the Alexandria, MN area where they were able to raise their family on farms near Lake Mary & Brandon, MN, and eventually moved to Big Chippewa Lake where they spent many, many years together enjoying swimming, boating and skiing - she even water skiied on her 60th birthday! Lou became a nursing student at Alexandria Technical College at the age of 53. She became an LPN and went on to fulfill her dream of being a nurse and worked at the Elbow Lake Hospital and later in St. Louis Park. Her earlier years in care for others began at Bethany Home in Alexandria where she kept all of her coworkers on their toes! Lou had a great work ethic, a generous heart, and strong faith in God.
Nothing made Lou happier than to host friends and family. Lou never got frazzled when Frank would give her little to no notice of friends coming over. She always managed to throw together a full meal or a grand spread of crackers, cheese, sausage and snacks. Friends quickly came to know that Frank and Lou were a “fun” couple who loved to laugh, share great stories, and create new memories. Lou also accompanied Frank to way too many “rubber chicken” business dinners which usually resulted in a heavy eye roll.
Lou and Frank purchased a home at Montesa in Gold Canyon, Arizona in 1999. New lifelong friendships and happy hours occurred wherever the golf cart landed, and all were a part of their great winter life in Montesa. Where there was Lou, there was laughter! She had a contagious, “full of the dickins” spirit. One of Lou’s famous recipes was her Honeymoon Salad: Ingredients = Lettuce Alone!
She found a love of music in the Pine River High School Choir and continued in the Minneapolis Choraliers. She enjoyed traveling with Frank and great friends Donovan & Myrna. She cherished shopping with her girls, lunch with her girlfriends, dinner at The Peak with the Browns, fun times with the Tatges, 40+ years of friendship with Annette & Sandy, watching plays & Broadway musicals, sitting in the sun, laughing with her kids, reading crime mysteries, teaching younger ladies to line dance (even those without rhythm), and giving quick kisses to the love of her life, Frank.
Friends and family would say Lou had the best sense of humor. Our silly Lou never had a filter. She “told it like it was” and people got a kick out of her style. She loved wearing bright colors (never black), bright nail polish, always wore lipstick, chewed gum, and sipped a nightly scotch & water with Frank. She loved any good TV trial, Hollywood drama, People magazine, Dateline, Dr. Phil and in recent years, American Idol.
Lou is survived by her devoted husband of 61 years, Frank Starke, her children, Paul (Allison) Starke of Brandon, MN, Jennifer Starke White of Watertown, WI, and Cindy (Steve) Elmquist of Bloomington, MN. She will be missed by her nine grandchildren: Elizabeth (Brent) Thompson, Samantha Starke, Robert (Chalyssa) Starke, Brandon (Sami) Bergeron, Emma (Zach) Meyer, Amelia White, Peyton White, Carson Elmquist and Kendall Elmquist; great-grandchildren: Lily Nelson (Chalyssa & Rob), Bennett Starke (mother, Jenna Butterfield; father, Rob), and soon-to-be new great grandbaby Thompson. Her nieces, nephews, sisters-in-laws, brothers-in-laws, many dear friends and relatives will miss her cheerful heart and kind spirit.
She was preceded in death by her parents, George and Gerda Pearsall; her father-in-law and mother-in-law Eddie and Juanita Starke; brother, Edgar Pearsall; and brother-in-law, Norman Starke.
Casual visitation & funeral will be held on June 27, 2021; visitation starting at 10 am, with church service beginning at 12 pm, followed by a lunch and celebration of love and laughter program at 1:30 PM. Family and friends may gather at the Holiday Inn in Alexandria, MN (use the entrance on the southeast corner of the building) beginning at 10 am.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the Alexandria Technical & Community College Nursing Scholarship Program, Alexandria Area Community Foundation, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Alexandria MN, Dollars for Scholars Brandon-Evansville, MN or Donor’s Choice. Private burial at a later date.
The family thanks the wonderful caregivers at Santé of Mesa, Knute Nelson Care Center, Alexandria Assisted Living and Knute Nelson Hospice for the excellent personal care Lou received during the last year of her life. The family is also thankful for the cheering, prayers and support from friends & neighbors, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Wedum Foundation, Alex Tech, Dunwoody, and our spirited communities in Arizona & Minnesota. Thanks so much for the caring and love shown to our “Lipstick Lou.” God bless you all!