Reprinted from Hood County News – April 12, 1997

Written by Winnie Moore

It has recently been called to my attention that Edna (Claunch) Starnes is now a resident of a nursing facility in Weatherford. This is a person who is remembered with love and respect by many people here, having lived here and taught in the elementary school for many years. She is now 92 years of age and seemingly continues to be as alert as when she was a schoolteacher.

Edna’s first tenure as a teacher at Lipan began in 1924. She received mail as everyone else in Lipan did at the Lipan Post Office. That is a story within itself.

It was at that time that she rented a post office box (#8). The post office was relocated on the ground floor in the back of the building where the stairs led up to the meeting place of the Masonic Lodge. That building is one of the oldest buildings still in use in downtown Lipan. It is on the corner just west of Perry’s Grocery.

When Edna met and married Clarence Starnes in 1929, they continued to receive mail in that same box. Edna remembers that a Mr. Byrd was the postmaster at that time.

Through the years there have been many changes as well as facilities here – different locations, different postmaster, the older “combination” boxes being replaced with boxes that are opened with keys, mail arriving from “far and wide.” Rural mail carriers traveled on unpaved roads in all kinds of weather of which Pernie Baldree remembers well. She was a substitute mail carrier when Lon Campbell was postmaster and she had to drive the distance to Bluff Dale and back to Lipan many times. She also remembers when the post office was located in the building where the First National Bank is now located.

Edna received mail in that post office box from former students during a span of 73 years and still hears from some. During the Vietnam War, she received mail from two of her nephews who served in that war — James Claunch, now deceased, and Tom Claunch, who works for the postal service in Dallas.

Just recently, Edna turned in the keys to that Lipan post office box but she does have a current address and would love to hear from former students and / or her many friends. We can rest assured that she will remember all who respond by writing to her at 521 W. 7th Street, Weatherford, Texas 76087 (Room 405).

It is almost impossible to think of Edna Starnes without remembering her husband Clarence Starnes, who died in 1992. Those two lived across the street from my family and me when we moved to Lipan in 1977. Clarence was always busy maintaining his orchard and / or garden.

Clarence was not a native of this area. It was while he was an employee of a gas company that he came to Lipan and it was here that he met his future bride, Edna Claunch. They were married on April 6, 1929.

Afterward, due to his employment with the gas company, they lived in several different places. Then the Depression evidently took care of his employment. They moved back to Lipan in 1933 and Edna taught school here again. In 1953, they moved to Fort Worth where Edna taught school for another 20 years before she retired in 1973.

Clarence had retired in 1969. He had driven from Fort Worth to Mineral Wells where he worked as a guard for German POW’s in a camp there. He once shared with me that he had compassion for those prisoners. His evaluation of those men was that he considered them to be very fine men, possibly victims of circumstances as most POW’s were. Those men apparently had respect for Clarence. For many years following their release, Clarence received letters from them about once a year.

For several years after retirement, Clarence and Edna made their home in Lipan where they owned a home. Then, due to the failing health of Edna’s aging mother who lived in Weatherford, they moved there to help care for her.

They drove to Lipan at least once each week, weather permitting, as long as Clarence was able. This, of course, was to check on their house here as well as check the mail in “that P.O. box.” They were also active in the Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star. Edna was secretary in Eastern Star for many years.

Obituary of Edna Starnes

Fort Worth Star-TelegramWEATHERFORD — Edna Starnes, 96, a retired teacher, died Friday, Aug. 24, 2001, at a Weatherford nursing center.
Funeral: 10 a.m. Monday at the Galbreaith Pickard Funeral Chapel. Burial: Evergreen Cemetery in Lipan. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Galbreaith Pickard Funeral Chapel.
Edna was born Oct. 29, 1904, to John and Emma Claunch. She was preceded in death by her husband, Clarence Starnes, in 1992. She was a member of the Lipan Chapter #127 Order of the Eastern Star.
Survivors: Nephews, Perry Claunch of Glen Rose, John Claunch of Weatherford and Tom Claunch of Peaster; nieces, Patricia Luna of Mesquite and Mary Jo Wimberly of Weatherford; cousins, Woodrow and Maria Claunch.

Galbreaith-Pickard Funeral Chapel
Weatherford, (817) 594-2747