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Daniel Lee Starks

May 20, 1948 ~ February 18, 2022 (age 73)


Daniel Lee Starks, 73 of Charlotte, passed away Friday, February 18, 2022.   Born in Rochester, New York on May 20, 1948, Dan was the son of the late Homer and Eva Madelyn (Austin) Starks. Dan moved to Charlotte in 1986 and founded the Starks Training Institute, Inc in 1989.

Dan was known to many for his "Don't be a Victim" spots on WCNC as well as his "Partners Against Crime" and "the Don't Be A Victim" series. He was also an Emmy Award Winner. Dan and his life partner Connie Smigiel believed in personal safety. Together they taught self defense class and firearm safety and carry conceal classes. Mr. Starks was ranked as the number one NRA instructor/recruiter in the country in 2009. His clients ranged from housewives, FBI and Secret Service Agents as well as businessman, politicians, sports figures.

Dan was a member of American Women's Self-Defense Organization, Infragard, National Range Officers Association and the National Speakers Association.

Over the years, Dan and Connie received many awards, but one of most prestigious honors was being Knighted on January 13, 20912. Recognized by the Knights of Malta, Federation of Autonomous Priories at European Knighting Ceremony, Dan was Knighted by Sir George Popper, the Lieutenant General of the Federation and Grand Collar of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus. The sword used in the ceremony is used in the knighting ceremony, it is over a 1000 years old and kept in Austria.

Dan is survived his loving partner Connie Smigiel, of Charlotte; sisters Mary Beth Musto of Webster, NY, Donna Jeanne Meisenzahl of Rochester; stepson Adrian Smigiel and wife Alicia, as well as many many friends.

A Gathering of family and friends we be at Carolina Funeral Service & Cremation Center on Saturday March 12 from 3-4:00PM, and a Celebration of life service to follow. 

The Celebration of life service is will be available Live at https://my.gather.app/remember/daniel-lee-starks

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Daniel Lee Starks, please visit our floral store.


Gathering of Family & Friends
March 12, 2022

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Carolina Funeral Service & Cremation Center
5505 Monroe Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28212-5503

Celebration of Life
March 12, 2022

4:15 PM to 12:00 PM
Carolina Funeral Services & Cremation Center
5505 Monroe Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28212

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