Photo a Day Challenge

Posts tagged “bj starr

Cactus Flower – May 9, 2014

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BJ Starr lived in South Phoenix on an acre that had lots of cactus on it. When the cactus would break off, he would plant it in a pot. That’s where this plant came from. I still think about my friend Billy Starr often.

Funeral for a Friend


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Click on the link above for a PDF of the program from BJ’s funeral. If you notice there are 2 American Flags, 1 was presented to his son Emil, and one was presented to his son Eric. The presence of the City of Phoenix Police department, and the honor, and respect given to one of their own was amazing. City of Phoenix councilman Michael Johnson, the Chief of Police, the assistant Chief of Police, City of Mesa’s helicopter pilot, and others spoke at BJ’s funeral. I would guess that there was no less than 50-60 current, and past police officers in attendance. The procession into the sanctuary, and leaving the sanctuary was led by traditional bagpipe’s. Pictures from the viewing, funeral, and events after are here.

Obituary – Starr, Billy Jerome (BJ)

Starr, Billy Jerome

59 of Phoenix, launched from this life to the next on October 4, 2013 after a heroic battle with lung cancer. He was surrounded by family and friends who loved him unconditionally. Bj, as he was affectionally known by friends and family, graduated from East High School and went on to complete 31 years as a Phoenix Police Officer. BJ served on the force as a patrol officer, airport security and became the first and only black helicopter pilot for the City of Phoenix. Upon his retirement in July 2006, BJ continued his service as a reserve officer assigned to the Sky Harbor International Airport here he remained until his death. BJ founded three companies; Photography by B. J. Starr, Starr Enterprises and Starr Micro Systems. He also completed a Master’s Degree at Webster University. He is preceded in death by his parents, Billy and Katye Starr. He is also survived by two sons, Emil Malik Starr, (Sade) and Eric Jerome Starr; 2 sisters, Debra Starr Boyd (Robert) and Jerita Starr Laforcarde, (Jeffrey); 9 grandchildren, 4 nephews, 1 niece and a host of great nieces and nephews to mourn his passing. Viewing is scheduled for Friday, 11 Oct at Universal Memorial Center, 1100 E. Jefferson from 5:30- 7:30 pm. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, 12 Oct at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 E. Jefferson at 2:30 pm. Repast will be immediately following services. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in the name of Billy (BJ) Starr to The American Cancer Society at Donate.Cancer.Org . He will be truly missed by coworkers, friends and family.

AZ Republic

November 4, 1953 – October 4, 2013

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BJ Starr at 19 months.

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Guy, Jerita, Deborah, and BJ.

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Jerita, Deborah, and BJ Thanksgiving 2006.

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BJ Starr in front of one of the engines of Air Force One. February 3, 2004.

VIEWING:  Friday October 11, 2013 from 5:30PM – 7:30PM at UNIVERSAL MEMORIAL MORTUARY, 1100 E Jefferson, Phoenix, Arizona

SERVICES: Saturday October 12, 2013 Viewing at 2:30PM, Service 3:00PM at PILGRIM REST BAPTIST CHURCH,  1400 E Jefferson, Phoenix, Arizona

BJ STARR – October 4, 2013

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February 2013 Jerita, Billy, and Deborah.

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Jennifer, Billy, and Joncie.

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Billy and Emil.

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Eric and Billy.

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Jim and Billy.

BJ Starr lost his battle with cancer on Friday October 4th 2013, at approx 6:10 PM. I sit here crying as I type this entry for my blog. I spent about an hour with BJ on Thursday, he was not very responsive, but when I left, he knew who I was, I let him know I would be by tomorrow after work, and that I was thinking about him, and praying for him. The very same way I ended my conversations, and visits for the last 3+ years since he found out he had cancer. Friday I spend about an hour or so with Billy, who was visably worse, and his breathing had become labored. I let him know I would see him on Saturday, he nodded his head. That was the only response I got from him. During my visit, Deborah came by, and honked when she got to her brothers house, because “I was in her parking spot”, a running joke between us. I was in the room with Billy, and witnessed a very special moment between Deborah and Billy. She cradled his head and told him ” I love you big brother. We’ve got it, you can relax and let go,… Mom and Daddy are waiting for you, and we’ll be along soon, Dont worry about anything, we’ve got it. Relax and let go.” I was choked up with emotion, and thought how beautiful. Deborah left to go to work. I called Jerita and let her know I was headed home and about Deborah and Billy’s moment. I assured her I would come by on Saturday….. Before I was even home, Michael, Billys room mate called me and let me know Billy had passed, I turned around and went. It was tough to drive and cry at the same time. I tried to be strong for Deborah, Jerita, and Joncie. Several friends and neighbors were there, as was his son Eric. We held hands and recited the 23rd psalm. I will miss you Billy Starr!


The above pictures were shot in February 2013 at the viewing for Billy, deborah, and Jerita’s Daddy.

Old House – October 1, 2013

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I’ve shot this house before. The fields around the house now have corn, or maise growing. In the bottom picture there is a metal sign that says “KEEP OUT LIVE WIRES”, I’m not quites sure what that means, so I went in, and took some pictures. I went by BJ’s house after work for approx 2 hours, or so. He was asleep the entire time. His aunt is in from Oklahoma, and used to be a nurse, rumor is that she looks like BJ’s mom. I never got to meet BJ’s mother. She seems nice. I met Mark, another neighbor, and we swapped stories about BJ. I let him know when I arrived, and when I left. Jerita and Jeff were on their way to see him, I just missed them. I feel like the time is getting near. One of the reasons I started this blog was to help encourage my friend fight, and to hang on a little longer…… I dont know how much longer he can hang on…….

Emties? – September 27, 2013

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Driving home from BJ’s house, how many times have I said that on my blog? I went out to Estrella Parkway, and headed south…. there is a dog park along the main road just befor you cross the river, and this sculpture is on the premises. Its pretty neat with the sun overhead. Lots of colored shadows on the ground. So an update on BJ, he has been very alert the last couple of times I stopped by to see him. Lots of old friends and neighbors are starting to visit him, and it seems to really tire him out. He has a hospital bed in the living room. On Wed, or Thur, he asked me to help him go sit there….. what he wanted was to move from the hospital bed, to his bed in his room, where he fell asleep in seconds. He gets tired easly. He is not eating, or not eating much. He is drinking a few sips of tea, or water. The hospice nurses come in every other day, or so…… I hate to see him like this. I will miss spending time with my friend. Every one of his neighbors and friends say he is good people. I’ve known Billy, as a friend for 5-6 years, and as an acquaintance for 6-8 years, and I agree he is good people.


Red Skies at Night….. – September 23, 2013

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Driving home Saturday evening from visiting with BJ, Michael, and Richard. BJ was in good spirits, and we had a good conversation. I snapped a couple of shots. After driving directly into the sun for 20-25 minutes, it set. The sky was bright red, yellow, orange.

BJ Starr – September 22 2013

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So Randy, BJ, and I wanted to take some pictures outside. We were at BJ’s pink house. He owns the empty lot next to his house. His plan was to build his dream house on the empty lot, then raise the pink house. He felt like he could get the city of Phoenix to change the zoning enough so that he could have a helicopter landing pad behind his house. All of the neighbors were on board with this plan. He had just purchased his Canon 5D Mark II. I shot this image with my Canon 30D, you can see South Mountain behind Billy. I re-added the image into the lens on his camera. BJ really liked this image. Its one of my favorites of him from the last 5-6 years of our friedship. I’m sure there are pictures of him in his police uniform, and in his helicopter. This is how I want to remember BJ, vibrant, and so full of life. I spent an hour with BJ and Mike today after work. Billy is on a different medication, and was tired, and not too coherent while I was there. He had been up earlier when the hospice nurse came by to see him. I let him know I would stop by again tomorrow after work. I always tell him I’m thinking about him, and praying for him. He always answers I appreciate that.

Date taken 3/20/2009 Canon 30D, ISO-100, F8, 100mm, 1/100 sec. The Canon EF 100mm F2.8 lens is a “macro” lens for taking close up pictures. Its wide aperture, F2.8 is good for a shallow depth of field, and a blown out background, so its also a good portrait lens.

BJ Starr – September 21, 2013

BJStarr 2 BJ as an unwilling model. I bought a used projector and we rigged a screen, (white sheet) and projected a photo onto the screen, which is the background for this image. Shot 5/08/2009, in the “white house” studio.

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Base of South Mountain, 1/4 mile behind BJ’s house. BJ’s new tripod. Shot on my birthday 10/24/2009.

I’ve talked about my friend and photographer buddy BJ Starr in a several posts this year. I alluded to BJ early on when I started this blog by saying I was dedicating my blog to my pastor and a very good friend who are both dealing with severe illnesses. BJ is fighting a losing battle with cancer. There I said it. I hate what cancer has done to my friend, and everyone else whose lives it effects every single day. I spent a couple of hours with him last night after work. A couple of his neighbors and friends were with him as well. Dave and Rita and Mike. I like their stories. I like BJ’s stories. Over the last couple of years as he’s been battling with cancer we’ve shared lots of conversations, and stories. I treasure them all. When I could’nt stop by after work, I’ld call and talk during my 30-45 minute drive home. He had hearing issues for a couple of months, which were very frustrating for everyone, but that passed. He is most always coherent, and a real pleasure to be around. Photography, cars, woman, airplanes, we talk about  everything, and have lots of things in common. He is a pilot, and flight instructor for fixed wing, (airplane), and helicoptor. He flew helicopter for the City of Phoenix police department for years. I hate losing a friend to cancer. He is not eating and has lost 60-80 pounds from when the above pictures were taken. I pray for a miracle, but I feel thats the only he will survive this. God may need him more than his family and friends.

BJ Starr – September 20, 2013


I really like this picture of BJ. I shot this while we were working a Christmas party together. Shooting pictures, then printing on site, and selling the prints. I really miss shooting with BJ. Shot December 3, 2011. BJ was in relative good health then. He seems to get weaker every day I go and see him. If I remember correctly, he has a birthday coming up this month. I hope and pray he can beat this. Canon 30D, ISO-100, F5.6, 40mm, 1/100 sec, Canon Speedlight 580EX camera mounted.

Estrella Mountains – September 16, 2013

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So as I was driving home from visiting my friend BJ Starr, I stopped off at 91st Avenue and Baseline Road. Looking west into the sun, with the cloud cover produced a very nice landscape. The sky was very cool. Our skys are always clear and blue, its nice to have the weather we have had over the last 6 weeks or so. Shot with the Canon 5D Mark II, EF 24-105 F4 IS L lens, at 24mm, ISO-50, F8, 1/400 sec. Post production Lightroom only to darken the sky, and add a little saturation.

Another Rainy Day – September 11, 2013

Estrella Estrella B&W

I envisioned this landscape as black and white as I took it. Driving home from visiting my buddy BJ Starr. I get very emotional when I leave. I try to be strong while I’m spending time with BJ, but the truth is he is getting weaker every day. He is not eating much, and has little to no energy. I will miss him more than I can every say. Jerita and I talked for 30-45 minutes after I left. I can’t even imagine what Deborah and Jerita are going through. God give them the strength they will need to get through this.