We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Michael R. Gray Funeral Home
Our precious mother, Gerald Dean (Hubbard) Starling ("Mama", "Grandma", "Aunt Dean", "Gerry", "Geraldine"), passed away on Friday, September 3rd, 2021 at the age of 83, in her home, which she shared with her beloved son John. She battled lung disease, severe arthritis, an inoperable hiatal hernia, and cancer, but it never stopped her from giving out the best hugs, the warmest smiles, and trying to have fun. She was preceded in death by both parents, Collier and Maudie Hubbard, as well as siblings Sammie, Carl, Frances, Marie, Alma Ann and Alice. She is survived by her sibling Ronnie, three children, John, Melinda, and Carla. She also leaves behind 7 grandchildren, James, Matthew, Delilah, Heidi, Aaron, Noah, and Jerod as well as 4 great-grandchildren, Elijah, Allison, Leah, Nora, several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.
She was an avid book reader who enjoyed nature and being outdoors, especially if it was playing at Clearwater/Sandkey Beach or Rowlett Park with her kids and grandkids! She loved to laugh and looked for opportunities to share a funny story or joke!
Mama played hard! She loved family gatherings, often preparing huge, scrumptious spreads to celebrate Easter and Christmas, with plenty of food for all. She was famous for her fried chicken, southern potato salad, buttermilk biscuits, and lemon cake! She had an open door and welcomed all with a warm meal, heartfelt joy, and a big hug! Her good deeds toward neighbors, friends, and family are far too many to count. She often fed the hungry and bound the wounds of the injured. She rescued the lost, adopting two sons Frankie and Wayne. In this way, she followed Jesus's example of serving and loving others.
Mama was an independent, bold, strong, and confident woman! She lived life to its fullest, never missing the chance to liven the room, using any means possible! She had a great sense of humor! She was a bit daring, embarrassing us to no end, with her silly antics! (We can laugh about her grabbing the surgeon's backside while being wheeled into surgery, now that we're older.) She lit up the room with her charismatic, loving smile and stunningly bright blue eyes!
Mama was super nurturing, with a vitality for life which was inspiring and motivating. This was a large part of why she chose to become a nurse. Her colleagues knew her as a kind soul, always willing to cheer folks up with hugs and a quick-witted joke. Mama was a "true unsung hero", saving many lives. Once, while nursing at James Haley Hospital, Tampa, Florida, she single-handedly caught a very large, paralyzed man as he was falling out of bed. In doing so, she suffered a terrible knee injury, ending her hospital nursing career. A single mother of three, she fought to recover, attempting to follow a different career path. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Education at the University of South Florida, she began teaching. Soon afterward, she returned to her true calling, as a therapeutic nurse with Upjohn Home Health, Tampa, FL.
Though Mama's health was failing for years, few people knew the extent to which she struggled. Her joy for life and exuberant spirit kept her pushing through the pain. After retiring, she continued to help others through charity. She avidly supported St. Jude's Children’s Hospital through fundraising efforts and her personal generosity. No doubt, in her zeal for fundraising, countless children’s lives were saved.
She felt, most of her life, like "a rebel" and the "Black sheep" of the family. Before departing this world, Mama made peace with God, letting go of past hurts and offenses that she had held so long. She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior! She was ready to go home, to rest, peacefully, in Jesus loving arms.
Mama lived a humble, simple life, and she wished to die the same way. There will be no funeral or services. The family invites loved ones to simply honor her memory with a moment of joyful celebration for her soul being saved and a silent prayer for God to Bless America!
Some of her favorite songs to play in the car, on a scorching hot Florida summer afternoon, driving over the Howard Franklin Bridge, on her way to go swimming at the beach, with the windows down, hair blowing in the cool Gulf breeze were: Summer Breeze, Delta Dawn, Harper Valley PTA, Que Sera Sera, I Am Woman, Time In A Bottle, Drift Away and Brown Eyed Girl... we smile when we hear these songs... maybe you'll crank up a couple of these tunes and smile... when you remember this free spirit... she smiled when she thought of you!
Friends wishing to honor her memory are invited to donate in her name to St. Jude's Children’s Hospital.
Beloved... Jesus loves you with an everlasting love and he is holding you in His everlasting arms! He died to prove His love to you and make a way for you to live, eternally, with him in heaven! Are you tired of trying to make it on your own? He can help... will you, like so many before you, ask Jesus to take control today?
No visitation or funeral service was held.
The Michael R. Gray Funeral Home, 405 South Main Cross Street, Flemingsburg, Kentucky 41041 cared for all arrangements.