In memory of

Allan Starke, age 84, of Helena

August 7, 1933 – August 5, 2018

Al Starke passed away Saturday afternoon, August 4th, in his favorite chair at home. He was born in Valley City, North Dakota on August 7th, 1933. Though raised on a farm, he didn’t learn much about farming, but he learned how to shoot well. One of his first memories was his first solo flight when he jumped off the barn roof using only a bed sheet as a parachute.  Another cherished memory of Al’s was buying old cars and rallying them around the field with Jim Brainard until the car quit, and then doing it all over again.

Al introduced himself to his future wife, Jean Beckerleg, by jumping into the back seat of her car while escaping from a prank with his buddies.  Allan and Jean married on June 18th, 1955 and were blessed with five children. Al and Jean moved to Helena in 1962 and purchased the home in south central Helena where they raised their family and lived out their remaining years.   Al worked hard and built a great reputation as a floor layer until retiring in the late 1990’s, primarily at Finstad’s and the Floor Show.

Al had many hobbies and interests including target shooting (state pistol champion), hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, playing the tuba …. and aviation. Al’s interests in airplanes led him to build a KR2 in his garage, rebuild two Champs, and a Stinson. He did everything, from laying floor to shooting to rebuilding aircraft with the sure hand and keen eye of a craftsman.  Al’s favorite hangout was hanger #6 at the Helena airport where he spent a lot of time with family and friends.  He loved cats, especially Tinkerbell, and enjoyed feeding birds and squirrels. He loved slap-stick humor.  Though he could be gruff, Al was truly a kind soul with a tender heart, to strays of all types.  Such is life in the Far West!

He is preceded in death by his wife Jean and two sons, Paul and Jim.  He is survived by his daughters, Theresa and Jon Metropoulos, and Kate and Rodney Lamping, and his son, Ed and Cindy Starke. He is blessed with 11 grandchildren whose company he enjoyed immensely and in whom he took great pride.  Many people held special places in Dad’s life, but we especially want to thank his neighbors D.J. and Theresa, whose kindness and care meant so much to him and his family.

A Celebration of his Life will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 10th at Retz Funeral Home, 315 6th Ave. There will be an ice cream hour following the Celebration of his Life at Retz Funeral Home.  Please visit below to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Allan.


Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. JEROME HESSE says:

    So glad we had a chance to visit with Allan when we were in Helena. Sorry we didn’t get to see you Thresa. Thoughts and prayers are with your family. Jerry and Erma Hesse

  2. Ellen & Ron Osborne says:

    Very sorry for the loss of your Dad.
    Fond memories of hanging out
    at your house! It was always fun to
    see what Mr Starke was working on.
    I remember the cool little red MG, and of course
    the plane he built! Thoughts and prayers
    to all of you.

  3. Richard Donovan says:

    My prayers are with the Starke family. Allan was kind enough to take me up on a couple of flights many years ago. He will be missed.

  4. Heidi A Darlek says:

    So many memories as my heart breaks! Katy and I had so much fun with our Dad’s in the back of that MG! And we got part of Tinkerbell’s litter too!

    Love you all and I wish I could be there today to hug you all!

  5. Shirley Diana Starke says:

    I share your grief for my dear brother, Allan Starke. I am remembering the early days, when we called him Bud or Buster, and he gave me (aged about 2) rides on his “motorcicle.” And the 12 or more times I went to Helena to visit, and he would take us up into the mountains hiking – with fresh mountain streams we could drink from! And the Sleeping Giant (AKA Peeping Giant) in the background.
    All of us shoot and fly, but Allan was the best shot in the family. Our dad and I made Expert, but Allan was the only one to make Master, the highest grade – with the pistol! We each have a shooting feat to brag about, and Allan’s was to shoot down a fishing line that was caught in two twigs – both twigs with one shot!
    My prayers are with his children, especially Ed, at this time of sorrow.

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