The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Eighty Years of Starker Forests, Inc.

An interview with Gary Blanchard, Bond Starker and Anna (Starker) May, conducted by Mike Dicianna.

August 29, 2016


Corvallis-based Starker Forests, Inc. was founded in 1936 by T.J. Starker (1890-1983), an alumnus (1910) of Oregon Agricultural College's first class in Forestry, and later a professor in the OSC School of Forestry. Starker's son Bruce, also an Oregon State Forestry graduate, entered the family business in the 1940s, and helped to manage the company from the late 1960s to his tragic death in an airplane crash in 1975. By the time of T.J. Starker's passing in 1983, the enterprise had acquired some 52,000 acres of forestland in various locations around the Pacific Northwest. Today, Starker Forests manages more than 87,000 acres and provides full-time employment to twenty people.

Bruce Bond Starker (b. 1947) is the elder of Bruce Starker's two sons. A Corvallis native, Bond, as he is known, graduated from Oregon State University in 1969 with a degree in Forest Management. With his brother Barte, Bond began managing components of the Starker enterprise as a formal partner in 1971. His responsibilities ramped up with the death of his father in 1975, and he ultimately rose to the position of Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. In this capacity, Bond Starker's primary duties have focused on business, administrative and financial activities. He has also served on the boards of the Oregon Forest Industries Council, the Northwest Woodlands Owners Council, and the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees, among many other professional and service groups.

Anna Mae (Starker) May (b. 1983) is Bond Starker's daughter. An Honors student at OSU, Anna completed her degree in Forest Management in 2005. Following an internship in silviculture at Roseburg Forest Products, Anna joined the family business full-time in 2006, and is presently a partner at Starker Forests, Inc. She represents the fourth generation of Starkers to be involved in the leadership of the company.

Gary Wayne Blanchard (b. 1939) completed his Forest Management degree at Oregon State College in 1961, and was promptly hired by Starker Forests as the company's first full-time employee. Initially working as an assistant to T.J. Starker, Blanchard eventually rose to the position of Chief Forester and was responsible for overseeing all forest management and harvest activities conducted by Starker Forests. He stepped down from this position in 2007 to focus more intently on documenting the history of the company.