|| In 1946, W. O. Stringer, County Judge and owner of Stringer Funeral Home in Jasper, opened a second facility in Hemphill, on the corner of worth street and FM 2971 (Beckcom Road). Stringer hired Tennessee native John Byron Starr, Sr. (1909-1978) to operate the business. John’s parents, Hillard A. and Sarah E. Starr, lived in several states, including Georgia and Tennessee, and appeared in the 1880 U.S. census in Navarro County, Texas. John, Sr. Grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and later moved to Texas. He was living in Houston in 1930 and Kerrville in 1940 and served in the merchant marines during World War II. In the early 1940s, John married Margaret Virginia (Prather) Lisle in Beaumont. She had been married previously and had two sons. The Starrs had a son and a daughter together to add to their growing family.
In 1949, W. O. Stringer chose to close the Hemphill location of his funeral home business. John Byron Starr, Sr. decided to purchase the business and keep it in operation. He received financial assistance from his brother Lewis E. Starr from Chattanooga. In a side room in the funeral home, Margaret started a flower shop, operating as a separate business. The funeral home moved in 1958 to a new facility, the first in east Texas specifically designed for that purpose, at 510 Starr Street. The flower shop also moved in 1958, to a new facility at 201 Starr Street and is still in operation today, in the second generation of the Starr family. The Starr Funeral Home is in its third generation and is the only such business in Hemphill, providing a vital community service over a widespread area of east Texas and Louisiana.