Cover photo for Dorothy Sue Starnes's Obituary
Dorothy Sue Starnes Profile Photo
1936 Dorothy 2024

Dorothy Sue Starnes

March 4, 1936 — February 15, 2024

Pflugerville, Texas

Dorothy Sue Starnes, age 87, died February 15, 2024 in Pflugerville, Texas. One of 9 children, “Sue” was born in Borger, Texas and lived most of her childhood in Phillips, Texas, where her beloved father Allie worked for Phillips Oil. In high school she was on the swim team, loved dancing to the Ink Spots and worked at the local drug store, dreaming always of college, career and travel. Inspired by her love of fashion and her dear mother Cordie, who taught her how to sew, Sue made many of her own clothes. After she graduated from Phillips High School she studied nursing in Amarillo, The University of Texas at Austin and then received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Texas Christian University.  While completing her schooling and becoming a registered nurse she also became an Air Force wife and mother of 3 small children. The family was stationed in Illinois, Michigan, Germany and Spain.  Sue loved living in and traveling around Europe and did so in style and grace, while diligently educating her children about the history and cultures where they lived. It was imperative that her children were schooled in historical justice and cultural sensitivity; she instilled in them respect and curiosity in cultures different from their own. In every home Sue lived in, she created beauty and order as well as intellectual stimulation; she loved books.  She could often be found sitting in a favorite chair, drinking tea and reading from her varied collection, or simply reflecting on the nature of things. Sue was creative and had a deep love of art, which she passed on to her children and grandchildren.  She enjoyed perusing antique and flea markets finding one of a kind pieces of furniture and decor. This included a grandfathers’ clock in London, which was tucked into the back of the family station wagon with the kids, for a crowded but fun trip home to Madrid. In 1971 the family moved back to the Austin area and Sue worked as an R.N. at Brackenridge Hospital. Her nursing career spanned decades and included public health, obstetrics, medical and surgical nursing, acute coronary care and chemical dependency. In the 1980’s, as a single woman, she relocated to San Francisco where she worked in chemical dependency. She was fascinated by the recovery process and often talked about how much she learned from her patients. In San Francisco she enjoyed a free-spirited life just north of the Golden Gate Park. Eventually she came back to Austin and retired, spending her time expanding and refinishing her antique collection, creating handmade purses, riding her bike, petting her adored cat Sarah, and traveling to Russia, Hawaii and Japan.  As a parent, Sue was always available to her children for deeply personal and philosophical talks. She was a non-traditional, free-thinker, with an adventurous spirit and an open mind. She loved music, from Motown to Adele to Patsy Cline. Her favorite songs were Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)." In the last days of Sue’s life she was full of love, still very introspective and enjoyed discussing wisdom from the Bible, the Buddha and the beauty of the here and now. 

Intimate family ceremonies were held in Austin, Texas February 26 & 27. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. 

Sue is survived by her children, Deborah Renee Bertolette (husband Reed), Steve Starnes (wife Jane), and Darin Starnes, as well as her granddaughter, Christine Starnes, great grandchildren Gillian and Marshall Delmar Moore, brother, Ben White and many nieces and nephews.  Sue is preceded in death by her father and mother, Allie Mack White and Cordie Juanita White, as well as siblings, Edward White, Adron “Dutch” White, Betty Kelsey, Lorena Weatherford, Alene Hepler, JoAnne Poole, Max White and granddaughter, Jessica Starnes. 

To order memorial trees in memory of Dorothy Sue Starnes, please visit our tree store.


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