Nellie “Irene” (O’Neal) Sparks, 96, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, at the Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar.
Nellie Irene, the only child of Fred and Elsie Broyles O’Neal, was born on a beautiful Sunday morning, Sept. 3, 1916. She was saved during a revival at Needmore undenominational church under the preaching of Reverend Ralph Gothard in 1949.
Irene was united in marriage to Floyd D. Sparks on March 3, 1935. To this union two children were born, Shirley JoAnn and Judy Coleene.
She was born and raised on the family farm at Sac River. Even after Floyd and she were wed they spent many years on the family farm and never strayed too far from her roots on Sac River. They spent 54 years together full of adventure and fun before his passing.
She led a very happy and colorful life. In her younger years, she loved racing her old gray mare “Bird,” hunting squirrels with rocks, finding watermelon patches and gaining her nickname of Battleax. In her later years, she loved sitting by the fire or sitting in the sun at the front door to overlook the farm.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband; her daughter, Shirley; and a great grandson, Scott.
Irene is survived by her daughter, Judy Rinker, and husband, Tony – Stockton; her son-in-law, Donnie Mick – Stockton; seven grandchildren – Rick Broyles and wife, Donna – Stockton, Vicky Doeden and husband, Kirby – Stockton, Danny Broyles – Springfield, Lori Eye and husband, Dennie – Rockville, Danella Jemes and husband, John – Springfield, Gina Smith and husband, Kevin – Stockton and Sharla Wilkerson and husband, Chris – Lamar; 20 great-grandchildren and was blessed to be with us long enough to have 10 great-great-grandchildren.
She enjoyed a variety of work opportunities, the last of which was a teacher’s aide. She retired from the Stockton school system.
Irene enjoyed many events and holidays with her family and loved ones through the years. She was a devoted wife, loving mother and doting grandmother. She was always full of faith and was ready when her Lord and Savior called her home. She had a long and beautiful life with us here on earth and even though she will be missed, her family and friends will always have many fond memories of her many stories.
Services were held Friday, Nov. 30, in the Stockton Assembly of God Church with Pastor Randy Hayward officiating. Benny and Jeanette York gave a tribute. The congregation sang “Precious Memories.” Jeanette York sang “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Amazing Grace”
There will be no graveside service held. She will be laid to rest under direction of Sheldon Funeral Home, El Dorado Springs, next to her husband in Lindley Prairie Cemetery during a private gathering.