Margaret Starks 1913 - 2013

Teignmouth-based writer and Exeter Writers member Margaret Starks has died at the age of  ninety-nine.

Born in London in 1913, she lived an active and adventurous life. In the 1930s, she travelled by bicycle through northern France. In the 1950s - after her marriage to Devon-born Naval Architect John Starks - she moved (with her two young sons) to the United States, and then in the 1960s to Scotland where she wrote the first two of her books. In the 1970s she and her husband moved again, spending five years in Rio de Janeiro, giving Margaret the material she needed for her third book, 'Candles on the Pavement'.

When the two of them retired to Teignmouth in 1977, Margaret joined the Exeter Writers Group where she is remembered as "quiet but very friendly, a wise person, fair-minded and always good with her advice".  Later, she joined the local Probus Club and the Teignmouth Reading Group.  She was active in all of these organizations until well into her nineties.

Margaret was endlessly adaptable, equally at home having lunch with the Queen (her husband was technical designer of the QE2, so Margaret attended the liner's launch) or when shouting for attention from the back of a Rio butcher's shop (where, if you were not suitably aggressive and fluent in Portuguese, you were going to be left with nothing to eat for dinner). She continued to travel in her later years, visiting the deserts of Utah (and thus satisfying a long-time dream) and, when she was ninety, hiking to 11,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Margaret is survived by two sons, two grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

- Richard Starks


Fay Knowles said…
I first met Margaret when I joined the Exeter & District Writers Club after moving to Exeter from the Bahamas in the eighties. I remember her with great fondness and I loved to hear her excellent work when she read aloud at meetings. She was a great source of inspiration to me in my writing.

Margaret had a wonderful disposition. She loved to hear what the other person had to say and never blew her own trumpet. I had no idea she had led such an interesting and adventurous life.

We returned to the Bahamas in 1987. I really miss the Exeter Writers Club. Margaret was always so happy to hear from me when I telephoned her during my vacations in Exeter. I deeply regret that I never took the time to travel down to Teignmouth when I was there. This is a lesson in life to me – never neglect those who have made a positive impact in your life.

My deepest condolences to all of Margaret’s family and friends.

Fay Knowles
Nassau, Bahamas