Jay Michael Starr, 68, of Merion, a lawyer, financier, teacher, and artist, died Sunday, Dec. 6, of complications from cancer at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Starr was one of a handful of "Renaissance men in an age of the specialist," his close friend Michael E. Ussery said. Ussery is a former U.S. ambassador to Morocco.
Mr. Starr was born in Quincy, Mass., the son of Irving Starr, one of the nation's longest-serving university deans, and Irene Godgart, a travel agent and artist. Mr. Starr grew up in West Hartford, Conn.
As a young man, he was an Eagle Scout and member of the Scout Honor Society's Order of Nikiwigi.
After graduating with a degree in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969, Mr. Starr earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1972.
In 1973, Mr. Starr married Susan Robbins of Merion. In 1975, he opened his own firm in Philadelphia and practiced law for 20 years. His areas of expertise were business, commercial, and international law.
Mr. Starr also originated and managed three Philadelphia-area start-ups: Praxis Capital L.P., in West Conshohocken; Mercantile Capital L.L.C. in Wynnewood; and Philadelphia Factors Inc. in Bryn Mawr.
From 1986 to 1988, Mr. Starr served as a White House appointee to the State Department Advisory Committee on International Investment, Trade and Technology. From 1994 to 2007, he was a director of the Commercial Finance Association, a trade group.
One of Mr. Starr's passions was Gratz College, the oldest Jewish teachers' college in North America. He was a longtime member of its board of governors and finance committee, and in the mid-2000s represented Gratz as a trustee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Mr. Starr was a guest lecturer at the Wharton School and Drexel's LeBow College of Business. He wrote for the Philadelphia Lawyer, Tablet Magazine, and the Jewish Exponent.
Mr. Starr and his wife divorced. In 2000, he married Deborah Satya, an artist and marketing executive from New York. She joined him in Merion.
Mr. Starr loved to paint with watercolors and sketch portraits. He knew all about fish, including lures, bait and casting techniques. but said he wasn't much of a fisherman, according to family lore. "It will remain unknown as to whether he actually caught one," said son Andrew M.
And when he bought a small vineyard on Keuka Lake in New York's Finger Lakes region, Mr. Starr spoke proudly of becoming "a farmer," his family said.
Besides his wife and son, he is survived by his mother; two brothers; nieces and nephews; and former wife Susan S. Ginsburg.
Graveside services were Wednesday, Dec. 9.
Shiva will be observed at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, and Sunday, Dec. 13, at the home of Deborah Starr.
Memorial contributions may be made to Children International via www.children.org. The account number is 3672219.