Jan. 25, 1944 – Nov. 21, 2018
Joseph P. Starck not only came from a sailing family, but also passed his enthusiasm for the sport along to his children and grandchildren.
“He grew up on the river,” said his wife, Carol. “His dad was one of the founders of the Niagara Sailing Club. He sailed from a very early age. His friends were all playing baseball and he had to go sailing.”
After winning races with Highlanders in the 1970s, he went on to organize and officiate at races for the Buffalo Canoe Club for nearly 30 years. His sons have won world sailing championships. His family was named Boating Family of the Year in 1993, an award that his wife’s family received in 1959.
He died Nov. 21 in his Town of Tonawanda home after a long illness. He was 74.
Born in Buffalo, he was a 1961 graduate of Kenmore West High School and earned an associate’s degree from Bryant & Stratton Business Institute in 1963.
He was a driver for his father’s transportation firm, B.F. Starck Trucking, which was the sole distributor for a local food broker, until he became a real estate agent in 1968.
He joined R.J. Koch Real Estate in its Kenmore office, then became manager of the firm’s Williamsville office.
In 1972, he bought a Realty World franchise and established Realty World/J.P. Starck Inc., building a sales staff of 22 in his Kenmore office.
In 1979, Mr. Starck acquired the Western New York franchise for Parson Bishop National Collections, arranging collection services for retail merchants. He continued operating the franchise until 2003, then was a representative for Natural Cool air conditioning systems.
In the mid-1980s, he was part of the startup team for the financial newspaper Buffalo Business First.
He met the former Carol Whistler when they were both racing sailboats – Lightnings – at the Buffalo Canoe Club.
“When I was about 16 or 17, I was also sailing,” she said. “He would come up to the Canoe Club and he would race. Our first date was skiing. He was one of the first members of the ski patrol at Holimont. I didn’t start to crew for him until just before we got married.”
The Starcks, who married in 1964, focused more seriously on sailing after they bought a cottage in Point Abino, Ont., in 1972, and joined a Canoe Club nearby.
Mr. Starck exchanged his Highlanders for larger sailboats and eventually had motorboats for his race officiating duties.
Meanwhile, their children developed into champion sailors. Thomas won a world youth championship in Chile. Joseph Jr. won a youth title in New Jersey crewing for Jody Swanson, who married his brother David.
David and Jody have competed around the world. They were aboard the Lightning that finished second in the Pan-American Games in Brazil in 2007 and won the World Lightning Championship in Italy in 2013.
Four of the Starcks' five sons attended SUNY Maritime College. Joseph, a naval architecture engineer, is president of Great Lakes Towing Co. in Cleveland.
Their two daughters also are sailors. Julie Waldron has a 33-foot craft at the Buffalo Yacht Club and Karen Woodcock sails a 35-foot boat from Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts.
“These two girls’ families sail all the time,” Carol said.
Mr. Starck had been active in the Rotary Club of Kenmore, which he joined in 1971. He was a Paul Harris Fellow.
“His big thing for 45 years was Operation Santa,” his wife said, “raising donations for needy families so their children would have a Christmas.”
He was a leader in parent organizations at his children’s schools: St. John the Baptist School, Holy Angels Academy and St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.
He was a parishioner at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and a member of the Holy Name Society.
Survivors include two other sons, Christopher and James; a brother, Robert; two sisters, Ann Romano and Mary Galus; and 15 grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Nov. 26 in St. John the Baptist Church, 1085 Englewood Ave., Town of Tonawanda.