The University Record, October 4, 1999

Obituary

Chester G. Starr

Chester G. Starr, professor emeritus of history, died Sept. 22, at University Hospital. He was 84.

A native of Centralia, Mo., Starr earned a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D from Cornell University. He served as professor of history at the University of Illinois for 30 years before joining the U-M in 1970. At the U-M, he was the A.M. and H.P. Bentley Professor of History from 1973 until his retirement in 1985. At the time of his retirement the Regents noted that “Professor Starr has demonstrated a remarkable ability to treat with imagination and authority an impressive range of historical questions. No ancient historian in this country or abroad crosses as convincingly the boundary between Greek and Roman history, or moves as easily through the subsections of the historical discipline.

“Eminence in his field has not diminished his commitment to teaching or his willingness to take on administrative responsibilities,” they added. “His virtuoso performances in the classroom and his evident delight in explaining the complexity and significance of ancient societies have captivated several generations of students in this University.”

A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Starr was the acknowledged dean of ancient history in America, the author of more than 20 scholarly books and founding president of the Association of Ancient Historians.

Starr interrupted his teaching career to serve with the U.S. Army in 1942–46. He was chief of the Historical Section, Headquarters Fifth Army in Italy, attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, and received the Bronze Star.

Survivors include two sons, Richard and Thomas; a daughter, Jennifer Johnson; and eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a daughter,

Debbye Sessions, and his wife of 59 years, Gretchen, who died August 6.

Memorials may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

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