Images courtesy of the Eunice R. Benckenstein Library and Archive.
Growing up with the full privileges of wealth, Lutcher Stark was raised as the “young prince” of his family. With this privilege came a certain amount of attention and pressure. His activities and outings, even those as simple as fishing trips, frequently made their way into the pages of the local papers. From a young age he felt a need to live up to his family and community’s expectations.
At the University of Texas, Lutcher Stark fully embraced college life, notably serving as the football team manager and cementing the Longhorn mascot and logo through purchasing and distributing merchandise. In Austin he met and fell in love with his first wife, Nita Hill. They married and returned to Orange, though they remained heavily involved at UT through Nita’s family connections and Lutcher Stark’s service on the University’s Board of Regents.
The couple had extreme difficulty having children, and after several heartbreaking losses, they adopted two twin boys named after their respective fathers – Bill and Homer. For the rest of Miriam and Williams’ life, Lutcher Stark and his family were routine fixtures at The W.H. Stark House, not just during holidays but also weekly dinners and other regular visits. They traveled extensively together, and Nita kept a beautifully written diary documenting their many trips.
The sole inheritor after his parents’ death in 1936, Lutcher Stark kept all the family belongings and their home, but never returned to living in it himself. His third wife, Nelda, made the decision to restore the structure, opening The W.H. Stark House in 1981.