Elmer R. Sparrow
1929 - 2010
BORN
1929
DIED
2010
Elmer Richard (Dick) Sparrow, 81, a lifelong resident of Zearing, Iowa, died Friday, December 24, 2010 at Colonial Manor in Zearing,Iowa. Dick, was born the son of Ross McKinley Sparrow and Rose Kutter Sparrow on November 29, 1929 at the Sparrow family farm in Zearing, Iowa. He graduated from Zearing High School and attended Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa. It was here that he met Joy Beggs and three years later, on June 21, 1951, he married his love, friend and lifelong companion. Dick and Joy shared their love of people and horses for almost 60 years.

Dick served our Country in the US Army during the Korean War from 1955 to 1956. Dick and Joy actively showed Belgian Draft Horses in the 1950's, 1960's, the early 1970's, and then again in the 1980's, 1990's. In 1972, Dick began an adventure that would change his and his family's lives forever. Dick drove the 40 Horse Hitch in cities all across the United States for six years. During this time, Dick drove 48 horses twice, at the Iowa State Fair and the Cotton Bowl Parade in Dallas, Texas. This feat garnered him a world record in the Guinness Book of World Records. In later years, the Coors Brewery enlisted Dick's skills as a horseman and ambassador driving a 6 horse hitch for 17 years throughout the United States, driving horses to the thrill, excitement and amazement of many. He taught all 12 grandkids how to drive and was proud to watch many of them showing horses, no matter what breed of horse. He spent a great deal of time with his grandchildren, each summer taking the oldest eight kids on a "Grandpa Trip" to destinations around the United States. These trips along with the excursions to the Great Circus Parade helped to develop a beautiful legacy of family, friends and horses in his grandchildren. Dick shared the love of the horse with thousands of people. Dick imparted the love of family and friends to all he touched.

He was a member of St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Zearing, a member of the Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America, the Iowa Horsemen's Hall of Fame, and the Knights of Columbus.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ross McKinley Sparrow and Rose Kutter Sparrow and a younger brother, Ross Sparrow. Surviving Mr. Sparrow are his wife, Joy, sister, Carrie (Raymond) Obrecht; five children, Paul (Sandy) Sparrow, Robert (Lisa) Sparrow, Elaine (Scott) Hansen, Sue (Dennis) Meggers, and Rose (Jason) Goodman, twelve grandchildren, Jamie(friend Kim Scott), Mark(Andrea) Sparrow and Tim(Brittany) Sparrow, Chantel Sparrow(friend Travis Fox), Cheyenne, Ross and John Sparrow, Alex and Amber Hansen, Emily Meggers(fiancé Jeff Gearig), Casey Meggers, Marcia Meggers(fiancé Kyle Forsyth), and one great-grandchild, Hayden Sparrow.

Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at Dakins Community Center, Main Street, Zearing, Iowa with burial at the Zearing Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be Tuesday, December 28, 2010 from 4 to 7 p.m. with prayers at 7 p.m.. Friends are invited after prayers to publicly share memories. Memorials directed to family.

For ages would its light, Still travelling downward from the sky, Shine on our mortal sight. So when a great man dies, For years beyond our kin, The light he leaves behind him lies Upon the paths of men.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Published by the Des Moines Register on Dec. 26, 2010.
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104 Entries
The true definition of a friend.
Leon Jensen
August 7, 2015
Very sorry to learn of the passing of this great horseman. I have been writing memories of days past, and was working on the time I saw Dick Sparrow and his family and the 40 Horse Hitch in a little town east of El Paso, Texas. I still have the articles and pictures from those magic days at Indian Cliffs Ranch, when the team was taking a short break during their road trip, but still hitched up and gave everyone an incredibly impressive display of talent. I still have the O's Gold hat pin I bought! Thanks so much for the memories, Mr. Sparrow....may your lines never tangle and your team always parade in step.
Debbie Zapata
April 10, 2015
We got to see Dick in Indianapolis yrs ago, can't remember the year but Gov. Bowen was there then and he shook hands with me as Dick got the team ready to go around the fairgrounds.
What a beautiful site it was and being longtime horse folks he was an amazing handler of the big Horses.
God gave him a Special gift.
buck hatton
September 20, 2013
I'm very sad to hear of Dick Sparrow's passing...

He will always be remembered by me for his kindness and patience with working with me and members of the Milwaukee Great Circus Parade staff, and Ben Barkin's office. He ranks as one of the great meetings of people in my life!

He, and his son Paul, brought the 40 Horse Hitch to life in the late 20th Century and I don't know if people born in this day and age will have an opportunity to see such a majestic sight ever again... (If it should happen again one day; I truly want to be a part of it!!!)

God bless you Dick and thank you for some very special memories!!!
Art Greinke
July 10, 2013
I was so sorry to hear of Dick's passing. I met Dick through my uncle, Otho Knight. Uncle Ote loved spending time with Dick and the "40". A big thrill in his life was working with the big team at the Cotton Bowl. My sister and I would touch base with Dick and Joy at the Denver National Western Stock Show many cold, Jan. evenings. It was a wonderful experience. Our thoughts and prayers are with the whole family in the loss of this very special man.
Patricia Knight Fox
February 13, 2013
Dick Sparrow what more can be said. I was so sorry this week finding out that Mr. Sparrow had passed. A friend of mine lived just around the corner from the Sparrows. If I could have changed one thing it would have been to keep in touch. What a wonderful man my wife and I met that year at the BIG E Springfield Mass. Every year after that spending time with Mr. Sparrrow at the BIG E. Going to the Hukie Loe in Agwam Mass to eat a great meal of lobsters after the E closed for the night. I will always be grateful for our friends that first introduced us to Mr. Sparrow. I as many had an oppurtunity to ride beside him in a parade at the BIG E. What a wonderful night that was to be invited aboard with the GREATEST driver of all times. To the Sparrow family I know he will forever be missed. He touched so many hearts.
Ken/Darline Maye
August 8, 2012
So sorry to hear of Dick's passing. I learned how to drive a six horse team from Dick twenty some years ago when he would bring the Coors hitch to Temecula, Ca, and give driving lessons. In all my 60 years, of all the things I have done, a picture of myself driving that team is my most cherished photo outside of those of family. I have such fond memories of the years he came out west for his clinics. What a memorable character. Dick touched many lives and he will be missed.
Iris Siefert
July 7, 2012
I am so sorry to hear about Dicks passing. He used to come down to Florida and he would stay at Capt Tip Porters Rosebud Ranch in Largo Florida. He and his family were awesome and the horses were great as well. I am honored to have met himl, I still talk about how he used to hitch the horse team up and would take people on rides around the land..
Kathy Mascari
April 28, 2012
Elmer was a great man. In spite of his size and my lack of it, as a 15 year old wet-behind-the-ears kid, he knew how to encourage and build up. With arms the size of my legs, he was quick to laugh, quicker still to tease.

In later years, when I'd stop to see him in Maryland or Milwaukee, my girlfriend would always end up on his lap--somehow.

Loved him, as David said, like a second father. Respected him as one of the big men in my life.

He will be missed. Prayers to Paul, Robert, Elaine, Sue, Rose and family.

One good thing: Now Willis has his partner to ride with through the clouds atop Major.

Shane T. Johnson
40 Horse Hitch Hand, 1975-76
Shane Johnson
February 28, 2012
"What a loss of one of the greatest draft horsemen of our time. I had the opportunity to have met him at Skowhegan (ME) State Fair, where he was doing demos with a six-up. He invited me up on the seat with him as they unhooked. He was such a nice man to talk to!......My thoughts are with the Sparrow family in their loss"
April 1, 2011
"What a loss of one of the greatest draft horsemen of our time. I had the opportunity to have met him at Skowhegan (ME) State Fair, where he was doing demos with a six-up. He invited me up on the seat with him as they unhooked. He was such a nice man to talk to!......My thoughts are with the Sparrow family in their loss"
Robin Robinson
April 1, 2011
I am so sorry to hear of Dick's death. We met him many times at Draft Horse sales and had the privlige of seeing him drive the 40 horse hitch in Lincoln many years ago. What a site to see! We bought one of the horses at Waverly. Bess was her name.
It was a privilege to have known him.
Darlene Larabee-College Springs, Ia
February 6, 2011
Yes Dick was a Great Teamster ! I remember helping him at the Big E. held at Spring Field Mass.. He did a 16 Horse Hitch and had a big Barnum &Bally Circus wagon ,,, every day at about 5,pm,,,,he let me climb up on the wagon and ride around with him because I help him Hitch Horses See( Hitch Horses,com) it took a 8ft step ladder just to get up on it,,,,it was the Around the World Wagon and must of wieghed 6-8 Tons...this was a great thrill and memmory for me... but what was Great was to see him Drive Six Horese in Exobition... Whistle them up to a full gallop,, slide around the Arrena.. Truely Spin the Top... But to watch him back those hores up to a loading dock move.. Set to Chairs out and have two Girl come down from the crowd ,,sit in the chairs , which where placed one on each side where the wagon would back and dock...Now they where placed so the wagon wheel Hubs would just touch the back of the metal chairs.. no extra room,, and when back them Hosses back,,, you could here the wheel Hubs just click the Chairs as they went by...I told everyone after that.. that try at time to play down his ability's...He was the Best.. and seeing is Beliving ,,,,anyione that has seen what i said Knows... He Was One amazing Teamster... Most Sincerely our respect and thanks for hime..and we give our Condolences to all his Family , Friends and Teamster ! Dennis Willey,, HitchHorses,com
Dennis & Tina Willey
January 25, 2011
I think you for the time you spent with me. The invitations to shows in my area. Always looking at my hitches. Crticizing me for a horse out of line. Glad I was at the Denver Stock Show for a memorial in your honor. My thoughts are with The Sparrow Family.
William Maupin
January 23, 2011
I was sorry to hear of Dick's passing at the National Western Stock Show Draft Horse Show this year. I grew up watching Dick with the Coors hitch there as well as showing mules amongst the giants at Denver. It was great to see all the red ribbons in Dick's memory on the hitchs both mule and draft.
Thoughts and prayers are with the family, thank you for sharing your amazing family member with so many of us!
Cindy B
January 23, 2011
Rose, Jason and the Sparrow Family, This world has lost a a genuine pioneer but moreover, you have lost Dad. Our prayers are with you. Bill and Patti Ogg, Greeley, CO
Bill and Patti Ogg
January 7, 2011
We send our heartfelt sympathy to the Sparrow family , and to his world of friends.We will never forget the once-in-a-lifetime memories he created for us.We were always welcomed with open arms and giant bear hugs as we 'passed a good time' with horses, friends and even strange cajun cooking! The Sparrow hospitality made us feel like family in New Orleans, Golden Co.,Cody and Tensleep Wy., and even included a house bedroom when we visited Zearing for the last 40 horse hitch before the circus parade in 1995. Driving the 40, the 8, or any other team with Dick Sparrow was an honored privilege for Kenneth. We will both remember him with awe and admiration and BIG SMILES! His legend will live on.
Kenneth & Therese Lavergne
January 4, 2011
Sue and Denny - We are so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Please know you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Charly & Shelly Whiteing
January 3, 2011
I was happy that I was able to make a fast trip from colorado for Dick's funeral. It was very inspirational to see all the people that was present, along with the vigerating walk to the cemetary. It was great! I did not get to visit with everyone and wanted to express my deepest sympathy for Joy and Family. Dick was a very enjoyable person to be around he was definitly a one of a kind, and he is going to be very missed. My Prays go out to you all.
Debbie French (Walsh)
January 3, 2011
George (Buckskin)
January 2, 2011
George (Buckskin)
January 2, 2011
George (Buckskin)
January 2, 2011
George (Buckskin)
January 2, 2011
George (Buckskin)
January 2, 2011
I saw Dick many times over the years at the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee. Back then I lived in Milw. and always spent all my time on the show-grounds and did my part voluntering to help with horses, from the time when the train rolled in, until the grounds were cleared. My favorite part was watching Dick harness and try out the 40 horse hitch before the parade, and finally do the parade without any major problems.

If there is such a thing as a "horse whisperer", Dick was truly that man. Not that he really "whispered", in fact he could get quite loud when he was holding the reins, but the whisper was in his heart and the horses knew it.

I last saw Dick at the Britt Draft horse show, Labor Day weekend 2010. I wish I could have talked more with him, but as always he was busy and active even in his power chair. I'll miss seeing him there at the 2011 Britt show. Yet I know his spirit lives on, and his children will carry on what he taught them about horses as well as life.

As an owner of horses, and a horse rescuer, I know that horses have a special spirit that only a select few people can tap into. Dick was one of those men, and he took it to the extreme.

(These are my own photos from years of photographing the Circus Parades)
George (Buckskin)
January 2, 2011
I can't tell you how sorry we were to hear of Dick's passing. He was one in a million. We have so many fond memories of him and Joy and so many of the people we met while our daughter, Lori worked for him. Your family must know what a special man he was and how many lives he touched. I cherish so many moments of laughter and good times spent at horse events all over the country that he allowed us to be apart of. He and Joy opened their home to me on more than one occasion. Dick and Lori had a wonderful relationship. He will be greatly missed by our family.
Barbara & Roy Bryant
January 2, 2011
I once asked Dick who was the best driver in the world. He quietly replied, "Joy" and added that he couldn't have done it without her. His intense love of family, horses and horsemen was always an inspiration and I treasure every moment spent on the box or at the table with Dick and his family. Those huge hands demonstrated more talent than anyone I have ever met. My heartfelt sympathy to all the family and friends who were mentored and loved by this very special man....Lynn (Hewitt)
Lynn Tuckwiller
January 1, 2011
Joy, Pauly and families....we are so saddened by the passing of Dick. What great memories of a man who brought so much to the Belgian Draft Horse world. And the friendships he leaves behind. It was a pleasure to have known him and share in our Horse World. Hugs to you all....
Vickie Lance-Zibell
January 1, 2011
There will be an empty chair at the holiday table this year, but it will be filled with loving memories.
Bob Meyer
January 1, 2011
Dick Sparrow, the famous "Schlitz 40 Horse Hitch" that he drove in the Great Schlitz Parade in Milwaukee, "Chappie" Fox who made it all happen with the support of Robert A. Uihlein Jr, then president of Schlitz, have now all become part of the ages. Their talent and good deeds remain in the hearts of those that were lucky enough to have seen and enjoyed the famous 40 Horse Hitch
Leonard Jurgensen
December 31, 2010
MY throught are with you and family I work for Dick for a short time on the Coors group and help with the 40 horse at the circus parade he will be a very great lose. God Bless you all.
Doug Brightwell
Doug Brightwell
December 31, 2010
May God continue to give strength to the Sparrow family during their time of grieving. As a half-century resident of the Milwaukee area, I want to thank Mr. Sparrow for bringing his talents to our community. The GREAT Circus Parade would have been the SO-SO Circus Parade without Mr. Sparrow's efforts!!!!
Dave & Lois Ohm
December 30, 2010
Dear Sparrow Family…..
We extend our heartfelt sympathy to you on Dick’s passing….how we enjoyed coming each year to the home place to enjoy the Sparrow Reunion – begun 50 years ago by Ross and Earl and their ‘first cousins’ of which my dad, Bill Cozzens was one. My dad so loved all of those cousins and had such fond memories of his childhood with them. The first cousins stayed close to each other until they each passed. In these later years we wouldn’t miss that reunion – bringing our children and grandchildren to see meet their ‘cousins’ and their horses. While I never had the opportunity to meet and get to know Dick and Joy’s children except for Paul and Sandy, we have enjoyed hearing of their adventures in life. Carrie and Raymond and their families were a joy to see once each year.
Dick and Joy, Ross and Earl, all horse lovers, made memories for many residents of Zearing, not only with the 40 Horse Hitch, but also the countless days spent at the Zearing Labor Day Horse Show – it probably should have been named the Sparrow Horse Show. When folks ask what part of Iowa are you from, we answer “Zearing, home of the 40 Horse Hitch”, and sure enough most people have heard of that famous ‘bunch’!
Dick Sparrow Family you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Don and Austa White, Bella Vista, Arkansas
December 29, 2010
Dick taught me so much about horses and loving life! He was very special and we will always be grateful to have had the good fortune to meet Dick and Joy and share their friendship over the years. May God bless you all during this difficult time.
Cindy & Craig Orr
December 29, 2010
May all of the good memories bring you peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Mike & Kelly Minniear
December 29, 2010
We are thinking of the entire Sparrow family and would just like to say how thankful we are for everything all of you have done, the legacy you have left, and the blessing you've been, in the belgian/draft horse industry! Dick and Joy were obviously passionate about what they did and passed down their values and work ethic to their family. It's so sad to think of Dick being gone, but it's nice to know he leaves a family very capable of carrying on the tradition. Praying for God's peace and comfort for each of you as you share the many fond memories of a life lived to the fullest!
Matt and Sue Frieden
December 29, 2010
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sparrow family at this time. It's so hard to lose an "icon", but the legacy he leaves with his family and all that knew him, will keep his memory bright forever.
Brian Hussey & Nanci Deschambeault Eastern Slope Farm
December 29, 2010
Our deepest sympathies and condolences to all of the Sparrow family on Dick's passing.
He was a wonderful friend and mentor to Blair over the years, and all of us in the Purcell family will truly miss him.
The Purcells
Lionel & Rita Purcell
December 29, 2010
Our thoughts and prayers go out to you, the Sparrow family in the loss of your husband, father and grandfather, Dick Sparrow. I remember moving to Zearing in junior high and finding that there was a real family that raised and drove those beautiful 'big' horses right there in my new hometown. I loved horses and my most favorite memories of our early years in Zearing was the Zearing Labor Day Celebration and Parade, where Dick drove the 40 Horse Hitch! Imagine, 25,000 people in Zearing, Iowa. What a memory! And your dad was truly the maker of that memory.. Julie(Rule Caster and Bob Caster
December 29, 2010
Alexander Greer
December 29, 2010
Barbara Greer
December 29, 2010
To the Sparrow family, my thoughts and prayers are with you on the loss of your Dad.His life on earth is over but his life in Heaven has just begun,hes probably putting together a hitch right now smiling down upon us.He will be missed but his memories, legacy and the ones he mentored along his journey will not be forgotten.
Bart Barrett
December 29, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with you. One of the best hitch drivers ever. Roger Steelman LaCrosse va.
roger steelman
December 29, 2010
To the Sparrow family, our deepest sympathy on the loss of your Dad. One of my favorite childhood memories is the annual fall hayrides and your Dad letting us take turns helping "drive the horses". He was bigger than life and so generous.
Lisa (Neuendorf) Whitaker
December 29, 2010
To the Sparrow Family, Your Dad was such a special guy and a legend. Although I never knew him personally, I feel as if I did, because of all the fun stories told by our brother(Spiffy) and our dear friends(Elaine and Scott). Many a time sitting at the kitchen table visiting it seems we would always ended up hearing some fun story from the Coors days. I personally will never forget getting past Dick(keeper of the ladder) so I could ride on the 40 practice run for the Circus Parade. That was a day I will never forget. Please know we are thinking of you all and feel your sorrow. I also know there was one heck welcome party waiting for Dick at those pearly gates. Hold on tight to those lines guys and let the BEST ride begin. To the Hansen's, we are waiting for your safe return with open arms,tears and big hugs.
Love to all, Debbie, Mark and Emily Brekke
Mark-Debbie Brekke
December 28, 2010
My thoughts and prayers are with you Joy, the children and grandchildren. I am so glad to have seen Dick when I was in Iowa in September. I am sure he and Rick are swapping lies already. I still remember our ride on the Circus Wagon with Dick at the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts. My condolences, Mary Alice (Strassburg) Sargent, San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco, Mexico
December 28, 2010
To all of the Sparrow Family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time. Some of us have shed a tear as well I'm sure. Your Father, and Grandfather was deeply Loved and appreciated by many! I was one of those! His "zest for life",for me he was larger than life! He will be missed!
Barbara Justin
December 28, 2010
Our deepest sympathies on the loss of your Father, Grandfather and Friend. Our prayers are with you and your families.
God bless you all.
Kevin, Christine & Brianne Shanahan
December 28, 2010
To the Sparrow Family, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
May God Bless

Maryland Draft Horse & Mule Association
December 28, 2010
Our dad Bert (B.J.) Fevold always enjoyed the competition and memories of your dad & family. Our sympathy to all of you.
Jim & Dave Fevold Humboldt, IA
December 28, 2010
I have the fondest memories of Dick coming to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. He used to bring the horses to Children's Hospital and even once brought one of the horses inside our auditorium so all of the patients could enjoy! Dave, James, Justin, Maggie and I will never forget dinners in the tent at the Fairgrounds and Mardi Gras parades. We will never forget our trip to Iowa to see the 40 horse hitch. Although our pictures and Coors jackets were lost when the levees broke after Katrina, our memories with Dick will never fade. We are all smiling as we remember the wonderful times we shared with Dick.
Dave and Nancy Frankel Willis and Family
Nancy Willis
December 28, 2010
We sure loved Dick, dad, grandpa! So many friends, spectacular adventures, and a lifetime of great memories trepsing around the country with the Coors Hitch and one big man, Dick Sparrow! We will miss him and to all of you we send our love, John and Leslie Hawkinson, Golden, CO
Life is a journey- good friends make the ride more fun!
December 28, 2010
Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you put a great man to rest. He will be grgeatly missed by all who know him.
Friends Peg and Larry Njos
Peg and Larry Njos
December 28, 2010
Dear Sparrow Family, We send our sympathy to you at this time of loss, but you can take comfort in the fact that your father and grandfather was indeed a giant among men. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers! Love, Albert and Karen Cleve Family
Albert and Karen Cleve
December 28, 2010
Sue and family,
It's amazing how many people your dad touched with his love of horses and people. My family and I lived down the road from your wonderful family back in the early 70"s. I will never forget riding my little Shetland pony to your farm and being lifted by Dick or Paul, up onto one of the Belgians. I spent as much time as I could there, both admiring and somewhat fearing, ;) Mr. Sparrow. And now my daughter, 19, who is an aspiring horse trainer, has the same love of horses and children. I can only think that the days I spent with all of you has passed this love to her.
Love and prayers,
Julie (Lathrop) DeLano
December 28, 2010
Sympathy to the entire family of Dick Sparrow.
Rodney Michael
December 28, 2010
To the Sparrow Family -
I was saddened to hear of Dick's passing. He was a great man and while I was very young when I 1st met him with my Dad (Jerry (J.P.) Shaw)- I will never forget how he the special knack with the horses. We were very lucky to have been able to watch him work the 40 Horse Hitch as so many others and what a site it was to see! Amazingly Awesome! I'm sure Dad and Dick have reaquainted themselves in heaven and are visiting about the good ole days. You are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. With Deepest Sympathy
Lisa (Shaw) Feigenbutz
December 28, 2010
Dear Sparrow Family:
My thoughs and prayers are with all of you at this time. Dick was one in a million!!

God Bless,
Gwen Adams
Gwen Adams
December 28, 2010
Dear Sparrow Families -

I just wanted to share a favorite memory of mine. It was during the National Western Stock Show, not sure of the year but it would have been early 1990's, I was helping the Kuehl family with their horses and we were stalled just up the aisle from the Sparrow contingent. One afternoon a 4-ish year old Tim came running down the aisle full speed, wearing a t-shirt with "I Love Grandpa's Horses" written on it. Dick was hot on his heels waving a driving whip at him. Tim was screaming with laughter and yelling, "Grandpa Dickie's got the whip!!!" I am not sure which one of them was having more fun at that moment. All of these years later, this is still one of my very fondest memories of Dick ... and of Tim too!

Love to you all!
SuAn Reece
December 27, 2010
Sparrow Family my heart aches at the loss of Dickie. I told my folks and Mom said she can just imagine all of the good times Dick and Willis are having up in Heaven. I'll never forget Dad and Dick playing cribbage and each one saying that the other was a Cheater. I'll always remember my times with the Sparrows, Coors Hitch, and the 40HH with many fond memories. I value the friendships I've made with the family and with the many people I met while on the road with Dickie. Thanks again for the wonderful learning experience and for all of the good times! I love you all!
Mary Roberts
December 27, 2010
As we have been associated with the Great Circus parade from nearly the begining we have been lucky to have had a great association with him and his family talk about a class act all the way and its been a real pleasuse to have worked with him
Gods speed think there might be a wagon or two that need a hitch
Ned Lot Supertendent Great Circus Parde
and thanks for the memories the ride with the 40 is something I will never forget what a sight
Ned Kronberg
December 27, 2010
Dear Sparrow Family - we are so very sorry to hear about Dick. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Charles Lindsay and family (Greencastle, PA)
December 27, 2010
so sorry to hear about dick,he was really a true friend and will be sorely missed by not only draft horse people but everyone. dick knew no strangers,if you didn tiniate a conservation ,dick surely would,he visited with everyone.. sorry for the sparrow family . our love & prayers are wiyh you all. gerry & nancy ryan
Gerry & Nancy Ryan
December 27, 2010
Each one of us must release the hand of one we love into the hand of one we have not seen. Max Lucado

May God give you all strength and peace in the days ahead.
Sherry Johnson
December 27, 2010
Thank you for all of the great advice and memories. It is because of you and your family that Junior and I are in the draft horse business. You will forever be in our hearts and on our minds!
Junior & Teila Klein
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Tory MacDonald
December 27, 2010
Joy, Paul, Robert, Elaine, Sue and Rose: My thoughts and prayers are with you. He was a really special guy and we're all lucky to have known him.
Jeff Eller
December 27, 2010
I have many fond memories of Dick at horse events or just hanging out at the farm. He is in Heaven now, showing the angels how to work some horses and giving a few kisses along the way I'm sure. My sympathies to all the Sparrow family and may there be peace to all of you through His guidance and support.
Alecia Robinson
December 27, 2010
I got to meet Mr Sparrow and his beautiful horses on main street Marshalltown My oldest who was 10 and loved horses ,he let her pet one and sit on him what a wonderful gift for her .I never met such a kind but strong man .Iowa has surely lost one of the few men who made a legacy out of the love he had for horses and the respectful way he carried himself .
Kathy Wood
December 27, 2010
Dear Sparrow Family, so so sorry for the lost your husband,father,and grandfather.words can't express what you are going threw that this moment.Dick will be in a better place now no pain. and be driven the hitch up in heaven now.I will ways remember him at the WaverlyMidwest Horse Sale. how i meant the whole family back when. it was great knowing all of you. please take care and god bless one and all.
sharon (dean) beyer
December 27, 2010
TO MY FAMILY, WHEN I THINK OF UNCLE DICK I ALWAYS THINK OF A MAN BIGGER THAN LIFE. THE BIG BOOMING VOICE AND BIG HUGS THAT WERE ALWAYS APART OF MY SUMMERS ON THE FARM . THROUGH HORSES HE TAUGHT ME MORE ABOUT LIFE ,ABOUT GETTING BACK ON THE HORSE AFTER BEING THROWN , HARD WORK, HARD PLAY AND NEVER BEING AFRAID TO KEEP PUSHING FORWARD. ITS AMAZING HOW MANY OF HIS LESSONS I CARRY WITH ME .MY HEART IS WITH YOU ALL AND I WISH I COULD BE THERE .PLEASE KNOW I AM THINKING OF YOU. I LOVE YOU ALL AND MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU

ANDREA
December 27, 2010
Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.
Belgian Corp.
December 27, 2010
My husband, Jay Mitchell (now deceased) and myself spent a lot of time with Dick and his horses. We also raised Draft Horses and loved every minute of it. I am saddened to hear of his passing. I will always have fond memories of him and the horses he loved so dearly.
Iva Mitchell - Newton, IA.
Iva Mitchell
December 27, 2010
Like he did for many others, Dick was the first person to hand me the lines of a six horse hitch. It was in the early 70's and Dick had come to Forest City to drive Arnold Hexom's 6 of dapple grays. We started down the parade route and in that manner that was uniquely "Sparrow" he barked, "I'm not getting paid to drive these, here you drive them". Within a few seconds I had 3 teams going different directions and he grabbed them back and in a few seconds had them working as a team. Then he handed them back and barked, "pull that left swing line, let the leaders out, step the wheel over". Baptism under fire. And so it went for the entire parade, me getting them out of line and Dick putting the horse and my self back in line.

Everyone remembers the "40". I remember it because it gave me my first chance to handle Hexom's hitch in public. Phil Callahan would have driven the hitch, but was going to out-ride for the "40"at the Circus Parade. Arnold was going to hire someone else to drive, but Dick and Phil intervened on my behalf. Dick told Arnold, "why hire someone else to drive, Jim drives them at home, let him drive at the parade. And so it was that two young men, myself and my brother, Bob, drove 6 horse down the streets of Milwaukee. From that point on I had many great experiences showing draft horses, but will never forget my first lesson and my first solo flight, all because of Dick.

As Dick did for me, I always tried to gave others the opportunity to feel the thrill of handing 6 horses.

Rest in peace good Richard, you will always be remembered.

Jim Meyer
December 27, 2010
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of loss. Ken has many fond memories of Dick, and will miss this pillar of the last generation of Draft Horse men.
Ken & Kay Christiansen
December 27, 2010
I never had the chance to meet this great man...but I heard so many wonderful stories about him from his daughter and my dear friend, Elaine. What an incredible man he must have been. Thousands of people have benefited from knowing him. Blessed be his memory. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Take Care and cherish your memories. Linda Miller from Austin, MN.
December 27, 2010
I never had the pleasure of actually meeting Dick but somehow I felt I knew this man of strength, courage and determination through the stories told by his daughter and my friend, Elaine! I have always loved horses and was always thrilled to hear the stories of his amazing hitches and how the family carries on his great legacy. I know he is in heaven driving the BIG 48 HITCH OF WHITE BELGIANS for the BIG GUY!!! Special love to Elaine and your family and please know you are in my special thoughts and prayers! love to all!
Jan George
December 27, 2010
Dear Sparrow families:
What a great loss to us that Dick has now taken his final journey. My husband, Tom Apthorp took his final journey exactly a year ago and now I know they will be up there sharing their many horse stories and having good laughs together. I would like to dedicate the following poem in Dick's honor: God Bless you all!

TO MY DEAREST FAMILY:

"To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say... but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay. I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above,
Here, there's no more tears of sadness: here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just becuase I'm out of sight. Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night. That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through, God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you".

It's good to have you back again: you were missed while you were gone. As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on. I need you here badly, you're part of my plan, There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man.

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do, And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you. And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight, God and I are closest to you...in the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years, because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears. But do not be afraid to cry, it does relieve the pain. Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned, But fi I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand. But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er, I'm closer to you know that I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb; but together we can do it by taking one day at a time. It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too, that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain, then you can say to God at night...."My day was not in vain". . And now I am contented...that my life has been worthwhile, knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So, if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low, just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go. When you're waling down the street, and you've got me on your mind; I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go...from that body to be free, remember you're not going...you're coming here to me."
DORSEY APTHORP
December 27, 2010
Dick was a legend in Brocton, IL. We couldn't wait until the first Thurs. in June when we knew Dick and the boys would arrive in town. I was privilaged to meet him through my late father-in-law Bill Joines and actually survived the first meeting with barbs being flung about as much as the beer. From that time on, I always made it a point to see him during each Springfest, which he'd always say would be the last. I doubt he ever met a stranger and no one had a bigger heart. And I'm guessing those doing chores will hear him bellowing orders for years to come. That's what you call a legend and in my mind, Dick was a legend. Hell, he even made sure our daughter, fair queen, road right beside him in the Brocton parade one year. Needless to say, he was gloating that day with a pretty girl riding with him. Ha. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and that the entire village of Brocton, IL is sharing in your loss. He brought life to our town every year and will be missed.
Mike & Jackie Joines
December 26, 2010
So sorry to hear of Dick's passing. You are in our prayers.
Gladys and Stan Pierce
December 26, 2010
We will miss Dick here in Massachusetts. He was a great horseman and teacher, a ferocious cribbage player, a gracious and appreciative dinner party guest, and a wonderful friend. His passing leaves a hole that can never be filled.
Stev & Sue Knowles
December 26, 2010
Joy and family, I am so sorry to learn about Dick. I have vivid memories of my son falling off the back of the circus wagon the first time the 40 horses were hitched and years later the sled ride in the snow with the horses and playing "crack the whip" with the small sled pulled behind carrying my children. So many other fond memories of a wonderful man that will always be with me and my children. Linda, Chris & Kate Mordaunt.
December 26, 2010
Your family is in our thoughts and prayers. He will be missed terribly.
Doug & Robin Beyer
December 26, 2010
Sparrow Family,My Thoughts And Prayers Are With You. I Often Think Of All The Good Times I Had Working With All Of You.God Bless, Joe Coughlon (Papoose)
December 26, 2010
We are so sorry for your incredible loss. He managed to touch so many lives and bring so many people together over the years. We all loved Dick and he will be missed but never forgotten.
Janet & Barry Bischoff
December 26, 2010
Dick Sparrow a man I will always admire. 1976 centiniel year, Dick was my first job and like my second Dad. He was like John Wayne, a legend in his own right and will always be remembered that way. Joy, and sons and daughters my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thanks to the whole Sparrow family for making my life better every day.
David E Helmuth
December 26, 2010
Robert, you know our thoughts and prayers are with you. It brought back a lot of memories when I read te article in the Des Moines Register.

John and Paula
December 26, 2010
my sincere sympathy to all the Sparrow families. We lived close to Dick and Joy for some to=ime, my son, Randy loved to help grandpa Sparrow around his farm.We rented a farmhouse from grandpa. We loved to watch Dick and all kids train the horses on Dicks west pastures. It was a beautiful sight, we will all miss him and our memories we'll cherish.. Judy Sutton-Kepple.
judy Sutton-Kepple
December 26, 2010
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