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Mabel C. Sparks


1926 - 2019
Mabel C. Sparks Obituary
Mabel C. Sparks

- - Mabel Colleen Sparks, born Mabel Coline Cooper, on August 13th, 1926 in Pueblo, Colorado to Drummond Burch Cooper and Letha Coline Yarberry, died Wednesday May 29th, 2019 in Davis, California surrounded by four generations of family.

The beloved teacher, activist, and advocate lived in Visalia most of her adult life and spent weekends at the cabin her husband John Sparks built for her in Three Rivers. Celebration of her life will be held in various locations this summer in northern CA, Tulare County and Colorado.

Mabel leaves behind her son Greg Sparks of Davis, his wife Pam (Fry) Sparks and her daughter Diane Sparks of Fort Collins, Co, and her husband Charlie Kerlee. Mabel will be joined in the afterlife by her third child Jeffrey who died as a young boy. Holding her memory close to their hearts are Mabel's four grandchildren: Michael, Gabriel, Jeffrey, and Eriika, and her great-granddaughter who loves "Nana" so much, Kennedy. In addition to this biological family, Mabel leaves a web of chosen family, informally adopted children, and extended family that have kept close relationships. Mabel valued these relationships and people more than anything in her life.

She was an English teacher at Exeter High for several decades and was unbeatable at scrabble as a result. Being well informed was important to Mabel and she read the paper and watched the evening news every day. She was a member of the League of Women Voters and active with the Healthcare for All Movement. A survivor of breast cancer, Mabel became an advocate for other cancer patients, volunteering with Reach to Recovery, visiting patients after surgery and during treatment and to help with the rehabilitation process. She loved the Tulare County Symphony and was a regular seasons ticket holder.

She was happiest outside in nature, hiking in the Sequoia National Park and Mineral King with her husband John, and later her friend Jim Howell. She also camped many summers at Huntington Lake and would visit the central coast of California often. She was invited to travel to Europe and all across North and Central America with her children and grandchildren, and greeted every trip with a sense of adventure.

She moved from Visalia to Davis in 2015 and quickly made friends with her neighbors. She was provided the most loving support by Kasa and Lini, her Fijian caregivers, in her final years. She passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones. Mabel, we wish that your trail be littered with wildflowers and lined with those you love as you hike into what is next.
Published in Tulare Advance-Register & Visalia Times-Delta from June 15 to June 19, 2019
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