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