Steven Starr
Steven Starr

Obituary of Steven Starr

Steven Starr, of Morris Plains, NJ, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, January 9, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. He was 69 years old. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Maxine Ollove, and his three children: Sam (and his fiancée, Jennifer Russo), Danny, and Emma. He is also survived by his sister, Marsha Shulman and her husband, Alan Shulman. Perhaps most importantly, he is survived by his beloved and loyal hound Charlie, and his mischief-causing cat, Phineas. Steven was born in New York City and raised in Paramus, NJ. He attended and graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University in 1973 and completed his Ph.D in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. In addition to Steven’s graduate work he spent his free time in Philadelphia teaching himself computer programming, beginning a long and successful career as a software developer at Bell Labs, Lucent, and Boeing Analytics. His many professional accomplishments include the Distinguished Member of Technical Staff Award for Sustained Achievement (Bell Labs) and the Jerome Levy Award for Most Outstanding Article of the Year in the Journal of Human Factors. The seriousness of his academic and professional careers belied an original and wacky mind. A voracious reader, Steven never left the house without a book and was often caught (much to the chagrin of his dear wife) reading in his lap at weddings, sporting events, and even his own children’s graduations. From the details of nuclear physics to his yearly reading of Jane Austen’s oeuvre, Steven’s literary interests ranged from intensely intellectual to classic and romantic. A truly advanced mind, Steven was still correctly answering complex scientific Jeopardy questions deep into a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. But Steven’s intellect did nothing to quell his unique sense of humor. After developing a certain fondness for bears, he parked a life-size grizzly bear cut-out in his office, complete with DIY-installed laser eyes. That same cut-out eventually made its way to the family home’s window, almost certainly terrorizing and disturbing neighbors for the next six months. A doting and dedicated father and husband, Steven was known for his unparalleled generosity and kindness. His loved ones often chose to watch their words in his presence, knowing that he would jump into action to make those around him happy, at whatever cost or inconvenience to himself. If someone didn’t like a meal they had ordered, he would immediately offer his own, without a second’s hesitation. If one of his children was down in the dumps away at college, he would jump in the car with the dog and drive hours to cheer them up. Steven was known for his adoration and spoiling of animals, and would come home from work with a new toy for the cat and dog far more often than their toy boxes could accommodate. For all his intelligence and sweetness, it is his sense of humor and joyful approach to life, with no concession to convention or appearances, that will be missed most. There will be a small service for family members only, and a memorial service at a later date when Covid restrictions allow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Steven to Eleventh Hour Animal Rescue, PO Box 218, Rockaway, NJ 07866.
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