T.J. Starker studied forestry at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) and graduated in the first class of foresters from OAC in 1910. He earned an MS in forestry in 1912 from the University of Michigan. He returned to Oregon and worked for the U.S. Forest Service near Baker and in Portland and for the Western Pine Association. In 1922, he returned to Oregon Agricultural College as a professor of forestry, a position he held until 1942. During the 1930s, he began purchasing cutover timberland in the area of Marys Peak and the Coast Range near Corvallis, which became the extensive second-growth holdings of Starker Forests. Starker served on the Oregon State Board of Forestry, was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters, and received numerous awards and honors.
Starker was a prolific contributor of letters-to-the-editor to the Corvallis Gazette-Times and a civic leader. He was instrumental in leading a community effort to pave Van Buren Street in 1923 and to acquire Avery Park for the city.
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