Louis B. Stark

Louis Bieck Stark, a longtime Heights resident, died peacefully at home on All Souls Day, Monday, November 2, 2009. He was 101 years old.

Lou was born in Denver, Colorado, August 22, 1908, the fourth of six children. His father was a well-known attorney and owner of the Stark Lumber Company. The family had a summer home in Shawnee, Colorado and Lou, always the outdoorsman, would travel the mountainous 61-mile route on his horse, Blue, with his brothers, while the rest of his family drove. 

At the beginning of the Great Depression, Lou graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder where he was a member of Phi Gamma Delta. There were few opportunities in Colorado, so Lou got a job as a seaman and traveled around the world on a freighter. 

Eventually, he got off in New York City and worked for a bank. He joined Squadron A, a calvary National Guard Unit, which was based in the armory at 94th Street and Madison Avenue. He would take the horses out for a gallop in Central Park. In response to World War II, Lou joined the Army’s Second Engineer’s Special Brigade, which fought in the Pacific. This amphibious unit was responsible for landing troops on enemy shores. Lou was both the Amphibian Engineer Unit Commander and Combat Engineer Unit Commander.

Among the various decorations and citations awarded to Lou were the Asiatic Pacific Theater Campaign Ribbon with Bronze Arrowhead, Distinguished Unit Badge with Oak Leaf Cluster, World War II Victory Medal, American Theater Campaign Ribbon (Philippines), Liberation Ribbon and various sharpshooting and marksmen awards including one for Mounted Machine Gun on Tank. He was honorably discharged but remained active in the army reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel.

After the war, Lou started his own business as a real estate broker in New York City. In 1947, he married Edith Ann Monks of Ardsley-on-Hudson, New York, who had also been in the South Pacific, with the Red Cross. He continued to be involved with Squadron A and was an active member of the Amateur Comedy Club.

In 1957, Lou and Edie bought their house on Shelter Island and he became a “do-it-yourself handyman.” Most notably he and his two sons excavated the cellar by hand and replaced the rotten locust posts that were holding the house up. Lou sailed at the Shelter Island Yacht Club and was an active racer in the Woodpussy fleet. During the summer months, up until his 100th year, Lou and his family would swim at one of the Island beaches.

In 1984, Lou retired and he and Edie moved to the Island full time. They loved participating in the duplicate bridge tournaments. Many people knew Lou from his daily walk to the post office and drug store for the mail and paper. At the age of 77 Lou started a new 10-year career as a male model with the Click Agency. Besides many catalogues and GQ magazine appearances, Lou could be seen on billboards across the country advertising Cutty Sark Scotch. On August 22, 2008, Lou celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at the Shelter Island Yacht Club.

Lou is survived by his beloved wife, Edith; two sons, Jim and Charley; daughter, Carol Tiernan and son-in-law, Chuck Tiernan; daughter-in-law, Kate; two grandchildren, Jamie and Molly; brother and sister-in-law, Henry and Peggy Stark of Houston, Texas; and many nephews and nieces and their children. 

The Rite of Committal will be celebrated on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 11a.m. in St. Joseph’s Garden at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Memorial donations in Lou’s name may be sent to the East End Hospice (P.O. Box 1048, West Hampton Beach 11978) or the Shelter Island Red Cross Ambulance Corps (P.O. Box 830, Shelter Island 11964).