- About Us
Mother Virginia (Gray) Starks was born on July 15, 1920, in Blue Mountain, Mississippi, to the late John Gray and the late Fronnie Poole. On June 7, 2018 God called out to Virginia this is your season, dispatched His angel to earth to carry this faithful woman of God home.
On Dec. 25, 1936 she married the late John Wiley Starks Sr., of that union were three sons: the late John Wiley Starks Jr., the late James Starks and the late Tommy Starks; three daughters: Helen (Starks) Jackson, Earnestine (Starks) Tillman and Melvan (Starks) Garner.
Some years later, she met Joseph H. “Shoeshine Joe” Mattingly Sr., and was blessed with two children Vera (Mattingly-Starks) Gaston and Joseph H. Mattingly Jr.
Mother Starks went to school and church as the daughter of sharecroppers; Mother Starks accepted Christ at a very early age at Booth Baptist Church, in Benton County, Mississippi. After the passing of her husband in 1956, Mother Starks moved to Michigan City, Indiana to reside with her Aunt Lucille Carroll from there she made Michigan City her home. During this time Mother Starks worked as a Domestic Engineer until she retired; she loved to be in her vegetable garden and pruning the flowers in her garden.
Mother Starks was an avid member of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, since the late 1970s under the leadership of the late Rev. R.T. Shipp; later pastured by Rev. Eddie L. Jenkins and presently Pastor Jacarra M. Williams where she served as a nurse, a member of the Red Circle, and a beloved member of the Mother’s Ministry. Strong and independent, Mother Starks proudly proclaimed that her help come from the “Lord.” She could be heard calling on the name of “Jesus.”
Mother Starks was a kind and giving woman always willing to fix you a care package with love. Her family thinks that she had stock in Dove, Wisk, Clorox Bleach, Baby Lotion, Starlight Peppermints, and 7-up. If you went to her home; and you did not find any of these things then something was definitely wrong. Mother Starks was no stranger to anyone she met, she would always greet you with a strong heavy hand shake, a hug and a not so gently pat of the back. Mother Starks would say her secret to life is being obedient to your parents and eating a banana and a hand full of grapes, and YOU GOT TO LIVE RIGHT!
Mother Starks was known for her sayings, “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON and PRAY AND WATCH YOUR BACK!” These words will forever resonate amongst us all.
Mother Starks leaves to cherish her memories her loving and faithful children, four daughters: Helen Jackson of Ripley, Mississippi; Earnestine Tillman, Melvan (Marvett) Garner and Vera (Raymond) Gaston all of Michigan City, Indiana; one son, Joseph H. (Michelle) Mattingly Jr., of Indianapolis, Indiana; one brother: Daniel (Betty) Gray of Blue Mountain, Mississippi; and one sister: Fletcher Orth bell Strickland of Tacoma, Washington; 32 grandchildren: Tim (Denise) Jackson and O’Neal (Pauline) Jackson both of Ripley, Mississippi; Dewayne Starks of Indianapolis, Indiana; Jamie (Jerome) Dunn of Pearl, Mississippi; Tracie Tillman, Tina Starks both of Michigan City, Indiana, Lashawn Starks, Lavette (Kevin) Getter, Kiara Garner all of Indianapolis, Indiana; Travis Willis of Memphis, Tennessee; Tristan Gaston of Terre, Haute, Indiana; Martel, Marcus and Malcolm Mattingly all of Indianapolis, Indiana; Tymeshia Mattingly of Atlanta, Georgia; Pernell Starks of Granger, Indiana; Jerome Anderson Jr. of Michigan City, Indiana; Dewayne Starks Sr. of Ripley, Mississippi; James (Karen) Hicks of Sikeston, Missouri; Lorraine Brown and Anthony Coleman of Michigan City, Indiana; Diane Butler of Waukegan, Illinois; Vanessa Obadina of Detroit, Michigan; Kendra Jackson of Minnesota; Sharon Starks of Evanston, Illinois; Theresa (Lynden) Cain of Hollywood, Florida; Tony Water of Chicago, Illinois; Raymond Jr., and Ryan Gaston both of San Leandra, California; Doris Noah of Horn Lake, Mississippi, Carolyn Tillman of South Heaven, Mississippi; 53 great-grandchildren: Brandi and Takiyah Starks; Joshua, Jacob and Jordan Dunn; Christopher Straughter, Drake Foster; Alanda, Daraus, Sydney and Soriyah Starks, Kayla Nelson; Tavares, Starks, David Farmer Jr.; Trevon Walker, Karon Johnson, Damon and Tquarion Starks; Kabriyah Wilson; Mariyah Cain, Montez (Tiffany) Waters; Alexis Hicks; Randy Bond, Dennis, Denisha, Desiree and Darius Brown; Arryon, Jaylon Starks; Nathan Hill, Ta’nea Hill; Aliyah, Kenneth and Kevin Getter; Trey Anderson; Ciera Linson; Brianna Olson-Coleman, Anthony, Delvon and Coleman, Anastasia Johnson, Brittany Lockhart; Shelby Willis, Tone Tone Waters; Dorleea, Deon and Demetrius Butler; Selnea, Dewayne Jr. Starks; Jameka Cox; Brittany Hill, Derek, Larry, and Martez Tillman; 26 great-great-grandchildren: Brandon Starks, Cadence Walker-Starks; Melody Dunn; Jasper Mattingly; Kyle’ Starks; Reina and Sianna Waters; Dennis, Zyaria and Dariana Harmon, Devenier, DaShyla, Delylan, Danielle, Mariah, Heaven, Myangel and Serenity Butler; Braxton Jones; Aniya, Avery Hicks; Elle, Jamison, Brandon Hill; Ava and Amari Tillman.
Special Friends: the Prayer Band, Francis Butler, Bobbi Martin, Sis. Claudia Taylor, Florien Wilson, Pearl Davis, Eunice Dickens, Vera Foster, Sis. Roslyn Fischer, Sis. A. Patton and Pastor Hazel Williams. God-Daughters, Becky Tyler, Lucy Robinson, Sheree Allison, Vanessa Duke, Gertrude Graham-Farmer, Ryan White, Jackie Byrd and Saroyah McNeal-Johnson; and a special daughter-in-law Jackie Frazier; along with a host of cousins and friends.
Mother Starks was preceded in death by five brothers: Elder John W. Gray, Curtis Gray, Major Gray, Allen Gray, and Buzel Gray; two sisters: Mattie Bell Strickland and Eva Cameron; two granddaughters: Melody V. Starks and Bridgett Farmer; and one great-granddaughter: Tani’yah Brown; two special friends: Ima McNeal and Barbara Jean Kelly; goddaughter, Sylvia Cannon-Clark.
Mother Starks homegoing will be celebrated at noon on Friday, June 15, 2018 at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church with Pastor Jacarra Williams to officiate. Viewing will be 10 a.m., Friday, June 15, 2018 at the church until the time of service. Burial will be June 23, 2018 at Gray’s Cemetery in Blue Mountain, Mississippi.