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Reception Held for O.E. Starnes at First Presbyterian Church

Seen here are (L-R) Dick Graham, O.E. Starnes and Jeff Ballard, who all sang in the church choir together. At the reception, the group treated the guests to a rendition of “Show Me the Way to Go Home.”

Many references at the podium were made to O.E. as being a true “gentleman,” always polite, immaculately dressed, and helpful. Pastor Patrick Johnson notes, “At our event on Sunday, we were honoring O.E. for a life-time of service to both First Presbyterian Church and the wider Asheville community. In many ways, he is a living legend among us and a man of great integrity, talent, humor. In the wider community he known for his sense of justice and servant leadership. In the church, he is also known for his love of music, his absolute loyalty, his sharp wit, his wise counsel, and his deep Presbyterian roots.”

O.E.’s daughter, Jane Fawcett, spoke at the reception about her father—one of her favorite subjects—who is now 94. After his wife’s death in 2016, O. E. has moved to Givens Estate and was present at the reception. The family is now quite large, with O.E.’s 3 children, 9 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. In addition his late wife Lida Harris had 4 sons with numerous grandchildren. Jane Fawcett spoke of O.E.’s dedication to his legal practice. From 1957 until 1967 he served as corporate counsel to the City of Asheville. She mentioned that he was elected in 1992 to the N.C. Bar Association’s General Practice Hall of Fame. From 1981 through 2008 he was retained as attorney for the Town of Biltmore Forest, and many other legal honors were mentioned. Jane painted a picture of growing up in their warm family life, the vacations at the beach, summering at Lake Summit, O.E.’s love of music and dance, and the family listening to many barbershop groups over the years. In fact at the reception, those present were treated to a wonderful barbershop rendition of “Show Me the Way to Go Home” with O.E.’s leading in one of his favorite songs.

Others came to the podium and spoke of their friend, O.E., saying he was kind, fun, intelligent, punctual, loved children and dogs. They spoke of his often dapper attire, always well put together, and that although he was not a practical jokester himself, he was quick to respond to a joke played on him. They mentioned that he understood responsibility, loved his church and Jesus Christ. They recognized that Jesus Christ gave O.E. the meaning in his life. Near the end of the reception, his brother, Hal, just had to add: “I have known my brother for 92 years, all my life, and I am wondering whom you all are taking about?!”

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