Obituaries, Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Published 8:24 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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Winslow Anthony Stetson

Winslow Anthony Stetson, 78, died July 28 in Montgomery, Alabama, from complications stemming from a fall suffered while running. Rick, as he was known to all, was an avid and competitive runner, a soldier, a guidance counselor, an announcer, coach, animal lover, road trip enthusiast, and sports fan. He lived in Millbrook, Alabama.

There will be a visitation at Leak Memory Chapel in Montgomery (945 Lincoln Rd.) on Friday, August 12, at 10 a.m. All who knew him and loved him are welcome to attend. He will be buried later that day in a family-only ceremony at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo.

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Rick graduated from Barrington High in Barrington, Illinois, in 1963. He briefly enrolled at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign before joining the U.S. Army in August of ‘64. He graduated from Officer Candidate School in 1966 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He served as operations officer with the 9th Infantry Division’s Long Range Patrol Company.

As a member of this Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP), Rick’s service was distinguished and exemplary. He was an Airborne Ranger who was inserted by helicopter and silently crept through Vietnamese jungles. Rick graduated from the Recondo School for jungle warfare and was an instructor at the Ranger School at Fort Benning in Georgia. He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic and meritorious service.

After Vietnam, Rick came to Troy, Alabama, to enroll at Troy State University, where he graduated in 1972 with a degree in Physical Education and a minor in Speech. He was an active part of campus life who acted in several plays, wrote for the student newspaper, and was selected “Mr. TSU.”

His running honors are too numerous to list here: He was captain of the cross country team and held many school records. He broke his own school record, running a 4:21 indoor mile. He repeatedly broke his own 2-mile record (9:13) and also set a 3-mile record, clocking 15 minutes and 7 seconds in 100 degree heat. He was also part of a five-person team that set a world record for most miles run in a 24-hour period, staying up all night circling the track at Troy’s Memorial Stadium, covering 227 miles in a fundraiser for the Olympics.

He worked in the admissions office at TSU from 1972-74 and received a Masters in School Counseling in 1975. From 1974-78, he was the Director of Veterans Affairs, and from 1978 until 1981 was Director of Alumni Affairs. During this time, he remained a key figure in the university’s track and cross country programs. He was awarded the conference’s Cross Country Coach of the Year award and twice won the Track Coach of the Year Award.

Remaining in Troy, he then spent over two decades as a guidance counselor at Charles Henderson High School (1981-2002). He touched countless lives, encouraging students to aim higher and reach academic and career goals. He served as public address announcer for home football, basketball, and baseball games and coached the school’s track and cross country programs. He drove buses and vans – not just to competitions where he was coaching – but to debate tournaments and quiz bowl competitions.

He founded the Troy Track Club and continued running: His 2:42 marathon time in the 1972 Peach Bowl Marathon in Atlanta qualified him for the Olympic trials in Oregon for the Munich games. He finished the 1973 Boston Marathon in 33rd place with a time of 2:33:42; He stayed fast and durable into his later years. He ran the 2003 Vermont City Marathon – 3:07:53. In 2004 at the U.S. Masters National Championships, he won first place in his age group in the 5000 meters and ran a faster time than the winner of the 30-and-under division. But more significantly than any of his times, he organized countless races and encouraged the growth of the sport at a time when many thought jogging was just a fad.

He also maintained his ties to Troy State, serving as public address announcer for home football and basketball games, as well as broadcasting games for WTBF, the radio station where he had worked since college. His resonant voice was well known throughout the region.

His military career also continued. He served in the Alabama Army National Guard from 1981 until 2000 with the 62nd Troop Command, based in Montgomery. He became a Captain in 1982, a Major in 1985, and a Lt. Colonel in 1994. In 2000, he was decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal of Alabama. From 2000-2003, he was a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves, 1st Brigade, 87th Division, based in Birmingham, serving as brigade adjutant.

After retiring from CHHS, Rick moved north to be with his parents in their final years. He lived briefly in Barrington and then moved to Massachusetts where he spent several happy years in New England, making new friends and running on new roads. He returned to Alabama in 2013, moving first to Montgomery and later to Millbrook.

He loved competition. He inherited his father’s love for the Chicago Cubs and passed it on to his own sons. He enjoyed college football in all forms, with a special place in his heart for his alma mater. He loved hearing about the competitive successes of his sons – Scott in baseball, and Stephen in policy debate.

He was a public figure – co-hosting the Morning Show on WTBF for many years and co-hosting a show on the local television station and serving as the booming public address announcer for football and basketball games for both Charles Henderson High and Troy State. He spoke at countless Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, often in his role as a member and commander of American Legion Post 70. He was often a Master of Ceremonies at beauty pageants or wherever needed.

He loved music and had a nice record collection, with tastes honed from his time working at the radio station as a DJ. He loved classic rock and all manner of Cajun and Zydeco music. He had a warm laugh and spoke easily to strangers. He loved to travel and enjoyed meeting up at military ceremonies and reunions and with running buddies at various races.

He loved his parents and his siblings. He had many good times visiting his siblings at their homes. He cared about extended family as well, and served as president of the Stetson Kindred of America for many years.

Rick was preceded in death by father, Win, his mother, Currie, his brother, Peter, and a brother-in-law, Leon. He is survived by his two sisters, Deb and Dede (and her husband Michael); a brother-in-law, Ron; and his sons, Stephen and Scott. He is also survived by several nephews: Nick, Alex, and James, and Gary, Simon and Daniel.

Memorials in Rick’s honor may be made to the Pike County (Alabama) Humane Society or to the Stetson Family Kindred, the family’s nonprofit. Special thanks to the hospice workers who assisted with Rick’s final weeks.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Stetson family.

Mary Ammons Starling

Mary Ammons Starling, beloved mother and grandmother, passed away at home surrounded by her family on Monday, August 8, 2022.  Funeral services will be at 3:00pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, at Green Hills Funeral Home with visitation one hour prior to the service.  Burial will follow the service at Green Hills Cemetery with Will Starling, Josh Starling, Drew Starling, Ben Dunn, Duncan Lindsey, and L.C. May serving as pallbearers.  Rev. Steve Winton officiating.

Mrs. Starling graduated from Elba High School and attended Troy State University.  She was married to the late Sidney Starling for 50 years. She was a choir member and active in Sunday school at First United Methodist Church.  As a longtime resident of Troy, she was involved as a hospice volunteer, a member of the Troy Rotary Club, and the Troy Homemakers.   Employed at the Troy Housing Authority, Mrs. Starling held several positions and retired as Executive Director after 32 years. Her favorite “job” of all was being a grandmother, and she was an avid reader. Cheering for Troy baseball was another favorite and she will be missed by her family and friends.   

She was preceded in death by her husband, and her grandson, Hunter Russell Starling.  Loving survivors include her sons, Buddy Starling (Sherry), David Starling (Beth); five grandchildren, Will Starling (Brooke), Josh Starling (Emily), Mary Margaret Starling May (L.C.), Anna Marshall Starling, and Drew Starling; two great grandchildren, Ansley Starling, Sawyer Starling; and her sister, Lou Ellen Dunn; as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church choir, a hospice of your choice, or the Troy Public Library.

The family would like to extend a word of gratitude to her loyal, loving caretaker, Linda Williams and to the staff of DaySpring Hospice for their care and kindness during the past few months.