Celia Annell Daughtry Starling of 703 Coharie Drive, Clinton, North Carolina, died peacefully on Saturday, January 8, 2022, at her home after a long illness with cancer. She was 89.
Annell was born to Namon L. and Catholeen T. Daughtry in the Hobbton community near Newton Grove. She grew up and attended Halls School with her brother and two sisters. At sixteen, her father gave her a brand-new Oldsmobile convertible which she and her sisters enjoyed. While shopping at Belk’s in Clinton during a summer break from school, she met Donald Starling, a salesclerk helping his father, the manager, for the summer. They fell in love and were married at her home church of Goshen United Methodist Church. The reception was held in her family home.
She moved twelve miles to Clinton, where they started their life together. She focused her life on three things: her church, her family and friends, and Clinton residents. She joined her husband’s church, First Baptist Church of Clinton, and attended regularly as a member for over 65 years. She was a Sunday school teacher and constantly worked in all areas of the Church. She was a faithful member of her Sunday School class with perfect attendance for over 20 years. Annell was devoted to the church and its members.
She also supported her husband in his numerous businesses and helped at their tobacco warehouses and farmer supply store. She was a tireless supporter of her husband in his career.
In church and in town, she was constantly writing notes to the sick and the bereaved. She regularly took food to those sick and those in need. She wrote get well cards daily. Annell ran the Welcome Wagon for years, which consisted of visiting new residents to welcome them to Clinton and giving them samples from local businesses to make them feel at home. She knew everyone. When her brother, Leo, ran for N.C. Senate in 1988, she personally visited over 800 homes and when her son, Lew, ran for Mayor of Clinton, she personally visited over 500 homes.
In her late forties, she began taking art classes and painted regularly, placing her paintings in her home and the homes of her family.
A true Southern lady, on the last day of her life, she went to her hairdresser, and later that afternoon she took her granddaughters to get ice cream and to have their hair cut. She helped them with which style to cut their hair. She died peacefully the next morning.
She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Luther Donald Starling, Sr., daughter Donna Starling Joyce (Michael) of Palm Coast, Florida, daughter Kathy Jay Starling of Rock Island, Illinois, son Luther Donald Starling, Jr. (Lew), and her two granddaughters, Annell Grace Starling and Annie Marie Starling of Clinton, North Carolina. She is also survived by her brother, N. Leo Daughtry, and her nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death her sisters, Lee Daughtry Peak and Edna Doris Daughtry Gore.
Memorials may be made to the Annell Starling Scholarship Fund at Sampson Community College, Post Office Box 318, Clinton, NC 28328, or Campbell University, Post Office Box 116, Buies Creek, NC 27506.
A funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church, 408 College Street, Clinton at 11:00 am on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, with Dr. Ray Ammons officiating. A private burial service will be held at the Clinton Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Starling home located at 703 Coharie Drive, Clinton, NC. The Starling family has entrusted the services of Crumpler-Honeycutt Funeral Home for the internment