S/Sgt Maxwell Starkman (Ret’d)

    • S/Sgt Maxwell Starkman (Ret’d)
    • RCE Badge circa 1937-52

    We regret to advise of the death of Staff Sergeant Maxwell Starkman (Ret’d), Second World War veteran and distinguished architect, on 29 December 2003 at the age of 82 years in Los Angeles, CA.

    Maxwell was born in Toronto. Upon graduating from high school he worked for the architectural firm Kaplan & Sprachman until he joined the Army in 1940.  After training in the Royal Canadian Engineers in Petawawa, ON he was sent to Britain in 1941.  He was with a Chief Engineer (Works) detachment in Normandy and continued the war through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.  Maxwell also served in the Canadian Army Occupation Force until 1946. 

    After demobilisation Maxwell enrolled in Architecture at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. He graduated as the gold medallist in 1950 and went on to a distinguished career as an architect.  He moved to Los Angeles for work and built a lifetime career.  In 1953 he established Maxwell Starkman & Associates which, by 1982, was the fourth largest in the USA according to Building Design and Construction magazine.  His firm was deeply involved in the post-war construction boom building houses for returning veterans and their families. By 1983 the company ranked 98th out of 400 top rated engineering firms according to the Engineering News Record. 

    Maxwell credited his wartime experience for his success, saying “When someone would say ‘It can’t be done’, that was a challenge – and we succeeded.”  Among the many prominent buildings his firm designed are the Sony Pictures Plaza Entertainment Complex in Culver City, CA; the Melodyland Theatre in Anaheim, CA; the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas, NV ( later demolished and replaced with the Bellagio); and possibly the capstone of his career, the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Tolerance in Los Angeles.  By the time he retired in 1983 he had built more than 20,000 single-family homes and thousands of apartment projects then pioneered early shopping centres and went on to build office buildings, luxury condominiums, hotels and mixed-use projects. Maxwell was the brother of Staff Sergeant Morris Starkman (Ret’d), also of the Royal Canadian Engineers. 

    Services will be held 31 December at noon at Hillside Memorial Park, Culver City, CA.  Memorial donations may be made to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. {dcApr17gd}[zri]


    Maxwell's brother, S/Sgt Morris Starkman (Ret'd), also served in the RCE.  He died in 2014.