Our Dad, Peter Starn, passed at 8:30 p.m. on March 2nd, 2022, due to complications from Hodgkins Lymphoma likely derived from Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. At the end of his life, Dad died still fighting for his Country. When Dad received a more serious cancer prognosis we asked if he was okay. He said 1 in 7 of the fellow pilots in his squadron died in Vietnam, and that every day he lived since then was an extra day.
Dad's squadron, HMH-463, flew the CH-53 Sea Stallion. He was a Captain and Naval Aviator for the Marine Corps. His squadron's pilots picked up new helicopters from the factory, flew to the West Coast, loaded them on the USS Tripoli Helicopter Carrier which then sailed to Vietnam in May 1976. The USS Tripoli's arrival marked the CH-53's entrance into the Vietnam war. Dad's squadron was the first HMH-463 squadron to fly the CH-53 Sea Stallion in combat.
Peter was born on January 28, 1944, in Fulton, Missouri to William Elbert Starn, and Margaret Elizabeth Helm. He had two older sisters, Shirley Jean Cosgrove, and Kathleen Helme. He attended Depauw University, where he met his first wife, Ruey Jane Ryburn, and where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Honors. He believed strongly in both the American system of governance, and a citizen's duty to serve.
After 4 years in the Marine Corps, Peter Starn went to and graduated from Stanford Law School. He then took a job offer from Carlsmith in Hawaii. In 1976 it was known as "The Big Gulp" when Terry O'Toole, Ivan Lui-Kwan, Larry Okinaga, Joe Kiefer and Peter Starn became the youngest partner class ever at Carlsmith. In 1994 he started his own law firm with Duane Fisher. His legal assistant for 28 years was Bernadette Lee. Starn O'Toole Marcus & Fisher now has 45 employees, and 23 attorneys.
Dad traveled the world. When he walked in one of his favorite restaurants, he knew the valet, the bartender, and the waiter's name. He loved great company. Out at a dinner of foie gras, broccoli, a bone-in steak, and a bottle of Prisoner, he would hold court with an amazing story full of precise details. A consummate gentleman, there was not a chair he failed to pull out, or a door he did not open. He was especially fond of Jazz music and would never let the opportunity for a dance go by, especially to Louie Armstrong's version of "What a Wonderful World."
Peter is survived and missed by his sons, Sean, Andy, and Wyatt, his daughter Paris, and is now with their sister Mindy. He was very proud of his grandchildren, Vincent, Mylah, Ka'ae, Poetry, and Coco. At the end of his life, he was blessed to be deeply in love with his girlfriend Donna Yamagishi. He was and will remain our hero. On his last day it was very important that he share these words, "I love all of you, and I don't want to leave anyone out."
Peter Starn's Celebration of Life will be at the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu at Ko'olau, on Sunday, March 27th, 2022. Visitation: 12:30 p.m.; Service: 1:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to the
Peter Starn Educational Endowment at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, 319 Lexington Blvd., Bldg. 37, Honolulu, HI, 96818.