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Richard Starcher--
Coming Home To Calhoun
by Maricia Mlynek

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West Virginia tourism says, “It’s time to come home.”

They are behind the times, according to one Calhoun native. Richard Starcher has been “coming home” since he was age 11.

Born on Aug. 30, 1946, in the family’s home on Big Run, Richard Starcher is the son of the late Ferd and Erma Minney Starcher.

His early education was at Russett School and he has good memories of principal and teacher Roscoe Gainer.

Starcher was fond of Calhoun County and enjoyed his existence along the riverside, but life sometimes has different plans and unexpected twists.

His father cut timber in the county, but a decline in work became too much for the family. Ferd Starcher took a job at the state hospital in Weston.

The summer of 1958 brought even more changes, as the family moved to Weston to be closer to Ferd’s work. On Dec. 19, Richard’s mother died when he was 12.

Richard grew up in Weston with one full brother and six half-brothers and sisters.

While in his 20s, he moved several times, but returned to Weston in 1977 and still resides there.

He worked at the state hospital as a psychiatric aid for 17 years before retiring in 1993.

“Over the years, I have been in and out of Calhoun County. I have family here and relatives buried here. I always looked for ways to return,” said Starcher.

Richard and wife Shirley found a way to come home -- without leaving home. They bought a camper in 2003.

Shirley and Richard Starcher

 “I wanted to camp in Calhoun County. So, we brought the camper in for our first stay at the West Fork,” said Richard.

When they had an encounter with high water, it changed Shirley’s views on camping in Calhoun: “My wife told me that we would never come back again, so I had to find a new place to camp if I wanted to talk her into returning.”

It is fortunate for the county that Richard’s next stop was at Calhoun County Park. The camper found a new spot to set up, and Richard was at home again.

“I talked to Butch Burch and Roger Jarvis about working around the park while Shirley and I are here,” said Richard.

The park was ecstatic to have an extra set of hands to work on projects and help around the park. Starcher has done everything from painting and plumbing to laying rock, building steps, and working at Heritage Village

Richard said, “Calhoun is home, and it always will be. If I had my way about it, I would be here year round. I like the people. They are so friendly. Even at Foodland, people speak to me. I don’t know them, but they are friendly. I like to slow down and come home.”

The Starchers have been coming to the county park each spring since 2005.

Each year brought different jobs and some routine work that Richard enjoys doing: “It’s my chance to give back. I want to do this as long as I’m able. I have some health problems, but I always want to be able to come back and say that I was a part of this.”

Calhoun County is the home of some very fine people. Some of them may not always reside in its borders, but most are just like Richard Starcher. They find their way back.

He is an asset to the county park. His efforts and long commitment are an example of county pride. When he returns home, we are thankful to welcome him.

Richard Starcher

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