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In Memory of . . . Virginia Vaught Sparling (1925-2012)

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 14, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Virginia Vaught Sparling died on February 23, 2012. She was 87 years old.

Rev. Dr. Sparling was born in Caddo Gap, AR on Feb 3, 1925 to Grace (Davis) and Chester Allen Vaught. Education was very important to Rev. Sparling and she attained quite a few degrees throughout her life. In 1946, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology from MacMurray College in 1946. She went on to attain a Master of Social Work and a Master of Education from the University of Washington in 1969 and 1979 respectively. MacMurray College gifted her with an Honorary Doctorate in 1981. And in 1991, she earned her final degree: a Master of Divinity from Northwest Theological Union.

Rev. Sparling was ordained at East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, WA in 1992. She was called to the Pacific Northwest District where she served from 1990-2000. She also served as a ministerial consultant at the Olympic UU Fellowship in Port Angeles, WA from 1993-1995; and the Skagit UU Fellowship in Mt. Vernon, WA from 1991-1999.

In 2004, Rev. Sparling’s deteriorating health forced her to begin using a wheelchair. Despite, the disability, she helped found the Methow Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (currently non-UUA affiliated), and was its minister for several years following its inception.

Rev. Sparling felt deeply passionate about education and community building through the arts. She was a vocal advocate of public education, and was elected to the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), becoming its President in 1979. An enthusiast of opera, ballet, and theatre, she became involved in the Confluence Art Gallery in Twisp, WA. There, she served as Board President, organizing shows, and leading capital drives to buy an additional building and install a monument in a public park.

In a letter to family and friends, her husband, Gerald, noted, "Life had given her many adventures and challenges which she took on with verve and gusto. Although she is gone; she still lives on in our hearts and minds.”

Rev. Sparling is survived by her husband of 61 years, Gerald Sparling, MD. She is also survived by son, Gerald Jr., and his wife, Andrea; son, Eugene, and his wife, Marta; and three grandchildren, Isaac, Nina, and Joslyn.

There will be two memorial services for the Rev. Dr. Sparling. The first will be held at the Eastshore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd St., Bellevue, WA 98005 on Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. The second will take place at the Winthrop Barn, 51 N. Highway 20, Winthrop, WA 98862 on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Dr. Gerald Sparling, P.O. Box 954, 865 Wolf Creek Road, Winthrop, WA 98862.

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