Obituary for Judith LaRee (Sams) Starkey

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A memorial service is scheduled for 11 am Tuesday, November 16, at Terpening & Son Mortuary for Judith L. Starkey of Artesia, New Mexico.

Mrs. Starkey, 83, died on November 11, 2021 in Artesia.

Nolan Frederick will officiate at the services. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Terpening & Son Mortuary.

Judith was born on November 10, 1938 in Fairbury, Nebraska; the daughter of Milton Duane Sams and Stella Marie Lefler Sams. She grew up in Geneva, Cozad, and Linoma Beach, Nebraska before moving to Artesia at the age of 8.

After graduating from Artesia High School, she married Frank Yates, Sr., and had one child, Frank Yates, Jr.

She then married Richard Dick Stegall and had two children, Mike and Michelle Stegall.

She later married Fred Starkey. Prior to and during her marriage to Fred, she continued with her education. She graduated with a BA in English education from the College of Artesia in 1971. In 1976, she received her MA from Eastern New Mexico University.

She taught swimming to many Artesians for years and taught English in the Lake Arthur and Dexter school systems.

Judith was the ultimate “Cat Lady”. She loved her many cats through the years. She also loved reading, and the National Geographic and Discovery magazines she could not do without.

She is survived by her children Michelle Taylor and husband Randy, Frank Yates Jr. and wife Mary, and Mike Stegall and wife Teresa; granchildren Cody Taylor and wife Jessica, Tao Chumbley and husband Robert, Tevis Yates, Kendra Ulherr and husband Chris, Kelsey Winfield and husband Clay, and Tyson Yates and wife Tabatha; also by many great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations may be made to the Artesia Paws and Claws.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Judith, please visit our floral store.

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