my name is Florene, I am Woody`s older sister. I want to thank all of you who have left us beautifl comments in Woody`s
memorial Book. My family continue to miss him. He was such a talented man & a wonderful brother. He was so dedicated to his friends & students. He loved each one of you.
I miss him more every day, but I know his spirit lives with me & knows how much I loved him. God Bless You & grant you peace. Love you Woody, Florene
My brother Woody hAS BEEN GONE FOR 3 MONTHS NOW. I continue to miss him more &more every day. I know his spirit lives with me & will continue to help me through difficult times & good times. I will always thank God for giving me such a special little brother. I love you Woody. Florene
I was very shocked to hear, from a mutual friend (Paul Zolis) about Woody's passing today.
Woody hired me for my first teaching job in 1976, and I spent the next 13 years of my career working and learning in his math department at Mowat.
Reading the other entries in this guest book is like a trip down "memory lane" for me, as I'm sure that it is for many others.
I have so many wonderful memories of this man. He loved listening to me telling a joke; I think that his favourite part of it was watching me laugh before I could get the punch line out.
In 1980, I showed him some pictures that my wife and I took during a summer trip to PEI. He asked if he could borrow one of them in particular.
He returned this picture to me inside a custom made wood frame that he made in his home workshop. I still have this treasure.
In 1987, I can still see the pride in his face as he observes me overseeing the programming of the OAME annual conference in Scarborough.
In 1995, he came to my retirement party, and delivered a wonderful, heartfelt speech which was nicely captured on video.
The first few years of my long teaching career (I am still, today, doing some part time teaching) were spent in Woody's department along with such incredible people as Paul Browne, Lynda Colgan, Lynda Elgar, Mary Beth Macdonald, Barb Martin, and John Ketelaars, to name just a few members of this incredible collection.
Woody Sparrow was a man who made the most of every minute of every day in the best possible way, and the many tributes in this Guest Book are a real testament to this. I hope that they serve as a real source of comfort for all of his family.
Firstly, I must say that my thoughts and prayers are with Woody's family. Secondly, I can't imagine the world without this special man. When I first met Woody as a young teacher at Mowat back in 1979, I didn't know what to think. He was so full of energy, ideas and care for the students. I used to get dizzy just watching him. He hardly ever took time for himself. He had the whole 'computer in the classroom' thing worked out about ten years before it became popular board wide. He was an innovator and I can't begin to say how much I learned from him. The good Lord has taken him for a reason and I can only imagine the great work he will continue to do ad infinitum. I will miss you pal. Paul Browne(36 years a teacher and largely due to Woody)
Our sympathies are with you all at this time of loss and grief. Donald Proulx and myself, Rosana Faoro, attended Mowatt from 1974 and 1977 respectively. May you rest in peace Mr. Sparrow.
I am deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Sparrow's passing and send my most sincere condolences to his family. I had Mr. Sparrow for Calculus at Mowat in 1989-80 and he was an inspiration - as a teacher and as a caring individual. I truly appreciated how he pushed me to do my best and not to "coast" along in his course.
I am now a high school Math (and Music) teacher. Mr. Sparrow's sense of humour and ready smile is something I have carried into my own teaching career.
As shown by all these tributes, Mr. Sparrow's legacy will live on.
"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
The life and experience of an individual is reflected in the experiences of those he knew and cared for, or who knew and cared for him.
Mizpah, my friend.
My sincere condolences to Mr. Sparrow's family for your loss. I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing. I had the pleasure of having Mr. Sparrow as a math teacher in high school, and I always had tremendous respect for him. Math was always easy for me, usually to the point of being boring, and coming up with new and creative reasons to skip class was not uncommon. Mr. Sparrow would have none of that...he often challenged me with extra work through the year, or had me help other students during class. He was one of the few teachers who taught me to give back and be accountable for my actions, but always with a caring and respectful approach. I went on to tutor and then teach undergraduate statistics while working on my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and was often reminded of his teaching methods during that time. He was one of the few who taught me that you never stop learning, even if you happen to know the answer to the question!
Mr. Sparrow you were inspiration to so many. May you continue to inspire and watch over your family and friends from the stars above. Rest in Peace Sir.
I'm sorry to hear that Woody is no longer with us. He was my mentor as a Waterloo co-op teacher at Mowat, and he struck me then as the most open person I had ever met. He had a quote above his desk by Theroux that said, "Just because you are good at something, it doesn't mean you have to do it." Great advice that I have fallen back upon a number of times. When I finished university in 1989, he called me at home and asked me if I wanted a job at Mowat -- I said sure, and the interview was over. I learned a lot working with Woody for the next three years, but he was instrumental in helping me to move overseas to teach, and for that I will be forever thankful to him. We lost touch since I last saw Woody at his retirement party in Scarborough, but he will always be fondly remembered by me.
Mr. Sparrow was one of my all-time favourite teachers. I'd done well with Math in the past, but I never actually enjoyed it until I was in his class. And since I've started teaching, I use the examples set by my great teachers (like him) as a model of the kind of teacher I want to be. He always made us feel welcome in his classroom, and it seemed like he had inside jokes with each of us. I remember several students asking about his first name after we found out that everyone called him Woody, and he'd reply that he'd only ever admit to it if we guessed it first. So for every class after that, I would always come in with a couple of guesses, and he would just smile and shake his head. He was the kind of teacher everyone should have, and he will truly be missed.
You are all in our thoughts and prayers. I only knew Woody after his retirement but he definitely made his mark at Bethune! He was a great teacher and colleague. Claire Pitt, Toronto
Woody was a fine teacher and lover of life, with abundant affection for both family and friends. He was a colleague and friend who for several years lived close to me here in Oshawa. We drove to school together on occasion and the time spent in the car was enough to reveal what a caring and loving person he was. Rest in peace my friend.
To my dear brother Woody, I still can't wrap my mind that you have left me. We talked so often & I knew you were so sick. I cannot wish you back I worried every day so so long. You are with Mom & Graham &for that I have to Thank our God for not letting you suffer one more day. You will always be part of me & one day I will see you again. love you
always Your sister Florene
Woody will always stay in my memories of Mowat. We shared over 25 amazing years doing what we loved to do, teach. Woody's passion for teaching, his genuine interest in students and his professionalism will always be remembered.He was truly one of a kind.
Dear Florene, Debbie, Jamie and Joey, so sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you R.I.P. Woody.. Jackie Raycraft Barrie
How do you say goodbye to someone who has been a part of so many lives? He was there at West Hill Collegiate the first day my Dad started teaching there, and the strong bond that was created lasted through 3 generations of our family. A dedicated friend and collegue, passionate teacher and one of the best storytellers ever! Thanks for being there for us all, Woody. You will be dearly missed!
I am a teacher at Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate and got to know Woody when he worked at Bethune as a supply teacher. As a new teacher, I was struck by his passion for teaching and concern for his students. He had a strong influence on me and my career. I enjoyed the many conversations we had back then. He was intelligent, knowledgeable and always had a great story to tell. Please accept my sincere condolences.
Woody was my "work husband" and a very close friend for many years. He had so much passion for everything he did, and so much love for Grahame,Jen and "Ontie" Floreen. I am so sad we didn't spend more time together these last few years. Godspeed, Woody. You touched so many lives including mine.
I first met Woody when I started teaching at Mowat in 1977, my home for the next twenty-six years. From the very beginning of my public teaching career, his reputation as a great teacher echoed through the halls. My sincere sympathy to his family and close friends. We have lost a good man!
I started teaching with Woody when I was a beginning teacher, and Woody mentored me and made me a better teacher. I still tell stories about Woody's teaching, talents, wit, and all of the laughs we shared. I will miss him greatly.
There we are, the first three in the back row of 12B's class picture in 1960-61. Me, “Woody” and then Norm Sweeney. Woody and Norm had cars and hung around together and were very good at math in Ross Honsberger's class. Woody was always kind to me, the immigrant kid, and always had a nice sense of humour. Didn't see Woody very often in the last 50 years but always remembered his broad smile and generous approach to life. Also remember the great times we had at Northview Heights Collegiate, and I see Woody's yearbook quote says ‘I don't think we owe England anything!' showing once again his catchy wit. Woody was destined to be a math teacher and the kind comments show that it was a good choice and resulted in mathematical inspiration for many students. Rest in peace Woody! Maybe we'll all have a 12B reunion one day. My sincere condolences to the family.
I was very sad to hear of Mr. Sparrow's passing. He was an awesome Math teacher He made Calculus seem reasonable and you feel like a someone. Class of 1990.
To Jen,Mike,Ella& family,
We are very saddened by the news of the passing of our good friend,Woody.Over many decades,he has been not only a friend and a trusted confidante,but also an inspiration professionally. The sincerity of his dedication to his students and his willingnesss to adapt to new challenges made him a mentor to all who were privileged to be a part of his career.
We shared so many great times.Whether it was a sailing trip,a movie night or a quiet dinner with friends,Woody always made you feel that you were important to him.
Ron has special memories of Woody learning to become an expert camper at Kilbear.Those vacations shared with the Careys and the Chongs,enjoying the laughter of the children around the campsite or watching them ride the waves,are especially cherished.Family times were so important to Woody and he spoke with such pride and unconditional love whenever he talked about Jen ,Graham and of course, more recently, his beautiful grandaughter, Ella.
We wish that we could both be there tomorrow to pay tribute to a special man.Woody was one of the gentle souls who touched many lives.And even if he was not able to fulfill all his dreams, he never failed to encourage others to pursue theirs.
Our hearts are with his loved ones.
Ron& Carol Anne
I had Mr. Sparrow as my first math teacher (grade 9) at Mowat. Math wasn't my strongest point until I had him. He inspired me immensely, and because of him I rediscovered my love and passion for math. I will always have some wonderful math memories because of him.
I was saddened to hear the news about Woody. I met Woody many years ago at West Hill Collegiate where he and I began our careers in teaching. We shared many good conversations about Math, about sport, and about life. Later, we often sat together at Math Heads meetings and quietly chatted as the discussions about sensitive issues seemed to go on ad infinitum. Woody would choose his times to contribute. When he did, people listened. He had a way of simplifying things, and cutting to the heart of the matter, when debates would otherwise have run well into the next day! His work with introducing technology into the Mathematics classroom was something that made it so much easier for many of us. I still remember the very carefully thought out work that he put together on slopes and equations of lines for kids who were beginning study these concepts. It helped me and many of my colleagues get a handle on how best to introduce this very important topic. Sorry to be writing about such "dry" stuff as this at a time like this, but the fact is that if Woody believed in something, he spoke of it with such passion, that you could not help remembering your discussions. Perhaps that is why he was such a great teacher.
He influenced many students in his role as a teacher, many teachers in his role as a head, and many others in his role as a friend. Thank you for all of these memories, Woody.
Please accept my condolences. I have known Woody since 1970 at West Hill C.I. then again at Mowat C.I. Woody taught both my children and kindly spoke at my retirement. He was a good friend for many years. Diane Hall
For many summers in the 1980s, our good friend and colleague, Woody, invited John Jefferson and me aboard his boat, the " Jenny Gray " ( named after his two children ) to share new adventures. Those trips through the Trent-Severn waterways and out onto Georgian Bay were very idyllic and restorative after the rigours of the teaching year ended. They gave us many moments of camaraderie and unforgettable memories of a different life on the water, far from the madding crowd. Thanks for your generosity and opportunities for reflection,Woody ! John and I will miss your companionship and interesting conversations.
Mr. Sparrow was a wonderful mentor to students whether you were in his class or not, he knew your name and had a ready smile. When I was, personally, going through a bad time he encouraged me and when I crossed the stage to accept my Grade 13 Diploma he stood up from where he sat with the rest of the teaching staff and grabbed my hand and whispered how proud he was of me to see I'd gone on to University. It meant so much and I'll never forget him. To his family and close friends, I am so sorry for your loss. He made his mark with caring and dedication and his memory will live on for lifetimes.
(Sir Oliver Mowat C.I. '74-'79)
Dear Jen and Family,
Woody was such an inspiration to me as a math teacher at Mowat through the 90's. He took his teaching and subject very seriously, and always had sound advice to offer his staff. At that time, our math office was in a hallway between the classrooms. All of us were jammed in there along with all of our supplies and computers. Woody and I were each learning the intricacies of the MacIntosh computers and their programmes, and I remember how many a morning we would both be anxious to share with each other the new features we had discovered while working the previous evening. To anyone other than a math teacher, I am sure we sounded like a couple of kooks, getting so enthralled with computer shortcuts and techniques, but we were having fun teaching - each other. On another plane altogether, Woody introduced me to his love of works by Ken Follett, and lovingly presented me with a booklet containing a poem he wrote entitled Aliena, the heroine in Follett's book Pillars of the Earth. Describing himself at the end of the booklet he wrote "Writing poetry is his quiet recreation. His poems reflect his romantic view of love and self. They often speak of the hellos and goodbyes - the gladness and sadness - of relationships." I am certainly glad that I had an opportunity to say "Hello" to Woody, and am sad to have to say "Goodbye".
Mr. Sparrow was my math teacher twice in the late 90's. I've never forgotten him. He pushed me to be better and always believed in me. He is a big part of the reason I had a successful engineering career and continued following in his footsteps to become a math teacher myself. He was truly an inspiration to me. I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Stephanie Downey
I was very sorry to hear that Mr. Sparrow passed away and I've had him on my mind all day. I was a student at Mowat in the late nineties and Mr. Sparrow was one of my favorite teachers. His no-nonsense style really worked for me. I thought it was magic the way he demystified calculus concepts by fitting them to the real world. He was funny and made classes memorable. I remember talking to him when I was an overwhelmed OAC student trying to make the right decisions about university and it was because of his encouragement that I decided to study engineering. Mr. Sparrow was a great teacher and had a positive and lasting influence on my life. Every now and then I still refer to a problem as a 'Nike problem' where the answer is, of course, to 'just do it!'
My condolences to Woody's family. Jen, your father was a great man, a good friend and an excellent teacher. In the mid 1980's he saved me from an abusive relationship and helped me believe in myself. I am the successful mom, wife and Therapist today, thanks to your dad. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
To Mr. Sparrow's family. Sorry to hear about Mr. Sparrow. I was in his grade 9 class at West Hill CI in 1968, my wife in early 70's and two of our daughters in the 2000 era. We insisted that our daughters were in his class to give them the best math start during their high school years. Ross Jackson
God sends us trials to bring us closer to Him... no more trials Woody. Daniel Healy
Dear Woody's Family,
I have known Woody for many, many years. He was Mr. Sparrow my teacher when I was a student at West Hill Collegiate, then became Woody and a colleague when I became a teacher and then a source of guidance and support when I became an administrator.
He always had time for everyone - always stopped to say "hello", ask how things were going, and if he could do anything for you.
I recall with much affection my first year of teaching. I bumped into Woody at a PD session and he was so proud of my accomplishments, gave me all his contact information and told me if I needed any lesson plans, helpful classroom strategies to just "get in touch"....that's just so typical of the man he was.
I am very saddened to hear of his passing and am grateful that my life has been enriched by knowing and working with Woody.
My heartfelt condolescences to his family at this very sad time.
Kim Miller (former Principal Mowat Collegiate, former student WHCI)
I had Mr Sparrow as my math teacher in 1975, at Sir Oliver Mowat, I struggled with Math and persevered with his encouragement. I later managed to attain my CGA- professional accounting designation; had I dropped Math I would have had to take remedial course to go into Economics and Accounting later on. He was also a sailor I recall and shared that with us students. He was the only teacher I went back to see after going to U of T. Mr Sparrow was one of the best teachers I had at Mowat, looking back.
Woody Sparrow was the first teacher who gave me a real sense of the applicability of math beyond the classroom. He was a perceptive, intelligent, and respectful teacher, and I didn't quite realize until this year how much his approach to students and to pedagogy has influenced my own. Thinking of him with much appreciation.
Jen, Mike and Ella: So sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. Although we havn't seen him in many years, still remember what a great neighbour he was.
Dale and Joyce Kennedy,(Oshawa, On.)
Dear Jen, Mike, & Ella
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this difficult time.
Georgina & Michael Nelson
A great "old school" teacher who always engaged with the students. He made math fun.....
I was a student of Mr. Sparrow, and I'm sorry for your loss.
Both my sister and I were students of his, and neither of us were very strong in math. We both recall how supportive and patient he was and how he went the extra mile to help struggling students. I had the priveledge of working with him on two plays with Theatre Mowat and enjoyed every minute. He was a great guy, inspirational teacher and wonderful colleague and I was saddened to hear of his passing. My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones.
I'm very sad to hear of Woody's passing. I also taught math with Woody at Mowat Collegiate for 10 years. I moved to Victoria in 2001 and applied for a teaching job at a college. In the interview, they asked me to name one thing I had learned from a colleague. I immediately thought of what Woody had said: " If a student (or anyone else) takes the time to come to talk with you, stop what you're doing and listen to them." Thanks in part to Woody I have a wonderful job.
I was pleased to reconnect with him a couple of times the last few years via phone and e-mail. I was looking forward to another yearly chat but sadly it is not to be. I"m so thankful though for his mentorship and friendship over the years. My condolences to his family for their loss.
To Woody's family;
I knew Woody as a young man when his mother married my uncle. We lost touch when Ann passed away. I had an opportunity to see Woody about 3 years ago. We met for lunch and had a wonderful discussion in Bradford, Ontario. It was great to see him again.
May he once again be happy in his rest and may you find comfort at this time.
To Mr Sparrow's Family,
I had Mr Sparrow for Grade 9 math in '97/98. That was the only year I had great marks, thanks to him. He shared his passion for the subject and helped me (and many others) find that passion too. He taught me so much that year and I'm sorry I never got to tell him.
I did not have the pleasure of working on a Theatre Mowat production with him but did see his talent in Green Harvest.
Be proud and know that he touched many in his math class as we were all blessed to be taught by him.
May he rest in peace and you find comfort in your time of need.
Sir Oliver Mowat C.I., Class of 2001
We are so very sorry to hear about Woody. I have known Woody since 1982, when I had the privilege of teaching with him at Mowat. He was an incredible teacher and administrator. Both of my children enjoyed their classes with him and followed his lead by becoming engineers.. He was my role model as I worked my way up the ladder to become one of his assistant heads and finally head of the math department when he retired. We had lost touch with him since I retired and moved away from the city but he is dear to our hearts. Please accept our deepest condolences.
Jane (Savage) and Scotty Boyd