Richard Neal Stark died peacefully on October 10, 2022, at the age of 88 in Texarkana, Texas.
He was born on September 5, 1934, in Ryan, Oklahoma. He graduated from Duncan High School in 1952 and Oklahoma Sate University in 1958 where he earned a degree in hotel and restaurant management. The food industry led him to Western Illinois University where he met the love of his life, Allene Payne Stark. After only four months of dating, they eloped in 1961 and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in December 2021. In February of 1966, they were blessed with their only son, Joe Richard Stark, and he was their pride and joy until the granddaughters, Elizabeth and Sarah came along. The girls definitely put an added twinkle in his eye. He retired after 25 years of service from State Farm Insurance Company where he was an agent in Farmers Branch and a manager in Texarkana, Texas.
While attending school in Duncan, Oklahoma, his 7th grade music teacher asked Dick to play the role of Gene Autrey. He was to hold the guitar and act like he was strumming while she played a record behind him. Dick said that if he was going to be Gene Autrey, he was going to play the guitar. He proceeded to master the song, by ear, and give his first live performance. Dick developed his passion for music and funded his college education using his guitar and voice. He was a member of many bands throughout his life and finished his career playing with the Dick Stark Trio on the Texarkana nursing home circuit.
During retirement, he also picked up wood carving and painting, and he spent many hours enjoying these hobbies. He was a member of Williams Memorial United Methodist Church where he was a tenor in the chancel choir and taught the Gleaners’ Sunday School Class.
He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Richard Earl and Anna Mae Smith Stark; and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Arlene and Jack Reed.
He is survived by his loving wife, Elizabeth Allene Payne Stark; his son and daughter-in-law, Joe Richard and Bettie Lynn Stark, and two granddaughters, Elizabeth Lynn and her husband Josh Whitt and Sarah Catherine Stark; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Gerald and Mary Payne; and a host of nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be held at 10:00 AM on Thursday, October 13, 2022 at Chapelwood Memorial Gardens with Rev. Jesse Brannen officiating.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a date to be announced in December at Williams Memorial United Methodist Church.
Memorials may be made to Williams Memorial United Methodist Church.
Arrangements are under the direction of Texarkana Funeral Home, Texas.