Charles Starnes was born in Abilene, Texas. He moved to Canyon in 1960 with his parents, Newton and Alice Starnes, when his father was assigned as pastor of First United Methodist Church.
Charles graduated from Canyon High School in 1966. During his high school years, he participated in choir and drama, and he was a cast member of the State Champion One-Act Play presentation of "Othello" in 1964. In 1966 he won a second place at the State UIL prose reading competition in Austin. In 1967 he played the role of Quanah Parker in the outdoor drama "TEXAS."
He graduated from West Texas State University in 1969 with a double major in physics and mathematics. Having joined the Navy during college, he began active duty in the Navy"s nuclear submarine program. During his twenty-seven years of naval service in the Cold War he was assigned all over the world. He was captain of the ballistic missile submarine USS George C. Marshall (SSBN 654) and served as Naval Attaché to the Federal Republic of Germany. He earned numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation. He says that the Navy promised him an adventure, and it delivered in the fullest measure--the countries he didn"t visit he saw through a periscope.
After completing his naval career, Charles returned to Canyon. He earned a PhD in Economics from Texas Tech University, and he began a second career teaching economics, finance, and management at the university level. He conducts research on the transformation of the former Soviet states to the free market. He also holds a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and a Master of Science in Finance and Economics from West Texas A&M University.
Charles married Susie Doyle of Houston, Texas, in 1970. They have four children who traveled with them on all their Navy adventures. Their youngest daughter, Kathryn, is a 2004 graduate of Canyon High.