Mom was born October 28, 1923 in Gouldbusk, Texas, the sixth of seven children. She was raised on a farm where she swan in a tank and rode horses. She graduated from Mozelle High School. She was on the basketball team and pep squad, and was the class valedictorian.
She married the football quarterback, John Milton Sparks, in 1941, at age 18. They had six children. They were married for 48 years until dad’s death in 1989. In 1991, Mom married a high school friend, J.D. Hopper, and with him gained two step-children. J.D. died in 2004. Mom no longer had a mate, but was rarely lonely for she had a large family and many friends who enriched her life.
Mom was a hard worker at various jobs, including picking cotton, canning okra, and movie theater cashier. She retired as a radio dispatcher for Western Communications. Mom enjoyed life and had an optimistic spirit. She had many interests, including gardening, bird watching, reading, old movies, puzzles, travel, and dominoes. She liked to keep informed about world events. She was a talented pianist who played by ear and loved to sing. She was a fabulous cook and an excellent seamstress. Mom was generous and donated to many causes, not only financially but with her time. In later years, she enjoyed playing the piano and singing with her church choir at nursing homes. As long as her children can remember, Mom was the family anchor, the person people went to for help or advice. Mom made friends easily and kept them for a lifetime.
Mom began to develop Alzheimer’s several years ago but it was only the past year that it became obvious. Her wit and charm could no longer camouflage the ravages of time. Mercifully however, she was strong and fairly healthy up until her death. She died peacefully in her sleep on May 5, 2015. Shortly before her death, one of her nurses said that she loved Mom, and Mom replied, “I love you, too.” A few minutes later, Mom passed away. Her children are comforted to know that Mom’s last words were of love. Mom left a legacy to her children of what it means to be a good parent and a Christian. Mom provided a solid foundation and a moral compass for her children. She could be both spunky and daring but also kind and compassionate. She has left us a wealth of wonderful memories. Mom was 91 years old when she left for Heaven, but to us she will be forever young.
Mom was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Erma Bledsoe Squyres; sisters Lela Brown, Faye Wheeler, Neva Howard, and Wilma Sidoner; brothers J.T. Squyres and Samuel Squyres; first husband John Sparks; second husband J.D. Hopper; and great-great grandson Nathaniel Sparks. Mom is survived by her son, John Rodney Sparks and wife Freda of Slidell, Louisiana; daughters Brenda Steadman and husband Melvin of Miles, Texas, Marilyn Bailey and husband Allen of Anchorage, Alaska, Carolyn Odor of San Angelo, Elizabeth Jackson and husband Richard of San Antonio, Texas, and Debbie Jo Bouseman of San Angelo; step-son Jesse Hopper and wife Pat of Ballinger, Texas and step-daughter Trudy Redman and husband Dickie of San Angelo; 16 grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; three great-great grandchildren; and 12 nieces and nephews.
Funeral service is at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, May 11, 2015 in Johnson’s Funeral Home Chapel with mother’s Pastor from Edmund Boulevard Baptist Church, Tony Valdez, officiating. Burial will follow in Lawnhaven Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be mother’s grandsons: Charles Steadman, Drew Jackson, Ashley Odor, Andrew Bouseman, Nicholas Bouseman, and Brandon Sparks. Honorary pallbearers will be mother’s grandsons: Bruce Sparks, John Olin-Sparks, Allen Lee Bailey, and Christian Bailey.
The family wishes to acknowledge the exceptional care mother received by the staff at Sage Crest. The family wishes to thank relatives and friends who provided comfort during our bereavement. A special thanks to Shari Kappelman, mom’s longtime neighbor and friend who brightened her days.
Family and friends may sign the online register book at johnsons-funeralhome.com.