A close confidant reflects on Judge Starr’s kindness and humility


WACO, Texas (KWTX) – One of Ken Starr’s closest associates, Tommye Lou Davis, who served as Starr’s chief of staff during his tenure as Baylor president from 2010 to 2016 and has remained a constant in his life ever since, remembers her colleague and friend as “a warm, crushing down to earth, approachable and fun.”

Ken Starr died Tuesday at a Houston hospital surrounded by his family after a 16-week stay in intensive care after the prominent lawyer developed complications from an operation in May.

Davis visited Starr while he was in the hospital and said that something happened to him during her last visit that will carry her for the rest of her life.

“He actually turned his head and opened his eyes and gave me a big smile,” Davis said. “I will cherish that smile forever. It’s worth millions to me.”

Davis and Starr’s friendship dates back to Starr’s first moments on the Baylor campus.

Davis was chosen to greet Starr’s wife, Alice, and give her a tour of Baylor and Waco. She then met Starr, who was internationally known for his role in impeaching Bill Clinton, and recalls being taken back by his kind demeanor.

“My first impression was that I had never met anyone his size, so well known nationally and internationally, who was so humble and so down to earth, and when I met him he made me feel like the important person .”

Davis said it’s a quality she’s shown Starr time and time again.

The two spent countless hours together, both on campus and across the country, for Baylor events that once included a trip to New York City to see Robert Griffin III Baylor’s first Heisman Trophy winner became.

Tommye Lou’s fondest memories of Starr weren’t the public events, but the private moments when she thought Starr shone the most.

Ken Starr with Tommye(Photo courtesy)

One of her fondest memories happened as the two walked around campus as she prepared him for a meeting.

“All of a sudden here were these students throwing a soccer ball back and forth and he just stopped everything and went like that, yelled for the ball, and so they threw the soccer ball to him and he started playing tag by throwing the Soccer threw back and forth with the students.”

Davis said Judge Starr always put students first, which endeared him to the student body.

“The students loved him because his door was always open to students,” she said. “They could just go straight to the President’s office and we were in the loop. Every time a student comes in, send them right back.”

Davis said Starr knows how to put “first things first,” including his faith and family.

She says Starr was active and healthy before his surgery in May, which took a turn no one expected.

It was a fight the family wanted to keep to themselves.

“After he had surgery, there were only complications and setbacks,” she said. “He would take two steps forward and one step back.”

But Davis, in true Judge Starr fashion, said he fought to the end.

“Up until about two weeks ago everyone really thought maybe he could make a real comeback because he was such a fighter and he fought his way through and he fought through every challenge to the end.”

“I lost one of my very best friends,” Davis said through tears. “I will just always miss him, but I will always be grateful for the time we shared and I am so comforted to know that he is no longer suffering. That he’s whole and I know exactly where he is. He is in heaven with his heavenly Father.”

Ken Starr was 76 years old.



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