It was easy to see why the media experts thought journalism's most prestigious prize was coming to our hometown newspaper.
Despite many reporters losing their homes and a nightmarish situation that no one should ever have to face, under Stark's steady stewardship, the Globe did not miss a deadline and each day kept a damaged community on top of the news it needed to know.
While Stark was quick to give credit to her staff, she was the one who made the tough decisions.
Carol Stark died today at Barnes Jewish Hospital at age 61, one month before she was scheduled to be inducted into the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame.
As Globe editors and people in the journalism world remembered her work today, those challenging days following the Joplin Tornado were among the first things noted and rightfully so.
But Carol Stark's greatest contribution to journalism and to humanity stems from the way she dealt with the disease that took her life.
Thirteen years ago, when Stark learned she had cancer, she made a decision that not only was she going to battle the greatest serial killer this world has ever known, but she was going to share that battle with the public.
It was a courageous choice.
It was not altogether certain that she was going to survive, but she determined from he outset that she would share her battle with Globe readers.
It was not a ploy for sympathy. She wanted to bring breast cancer out of the darkness and let others who were battling the disease or who had loved ones who had it know they were not alone.
Even after she won that first battle with cancer, she continued her efforts to educate the public and to advocate for those with cancer.
The courage and fierce determination Stark showed with that much-remembered series of columns and her many years on the Globe staff made her a natural choice to succeed Edgar Simpson as editor in 2007, the first female editor in the Globe's history.
When the second, eventually fatal confrontation with the disease, Stark followed the same path she had blazed 13 years earlier.
Stark made the announcement her loyal readers had been dreading in a December 30, 2018, column:
I've noticed lately that I'm swearing with more frequency.
On the other hand, I'm praying a lot more.
Let's hope the latter will cancel out my profane outbursts.
But I'm pretty sure the higher powers gave me a pass on Dec. 17 when my doctor looked me square in the eyes and said: "Carol, your scans are not good."
After spelling out the doctors' grim prognosis, Stark made it clear she would battle to the end and closed the column with another thought to leave the readers smiling through their tears.
Please keep me in your prayers — and out of your swear words. No use in all of us seeking atonement.Thebattle ended today.
The impact of that battle and the grace and courage Carol Stark showed as she stared cancer in the eye and never blinked will have a lasting effect on those who have faced or will face the same battle.
Thanks to Carol Stark we know that while it is a lonely battle, we are never alone.