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1926 June 2022

June Sparks

June 18, 1926 — November 12, 2022

June Elizabeth Rosselle Sparks died peacefully on November 12, 2022 of complications of Alzheimer’s disease, after a long and well-lived life.

She was born June 18, 1926, to William Porter and Elizabeth Grace Rosselle in Cincinnati, OH. In the early 1930s, the family moved first to Louisville, KY and then to Decatur, GA. June attended Winona Park Elementary School in Decatur, Bass Junior High School, and the North Avenue Presbyterian School in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College) in June 1948 with a BS in Chemistry, and later earned a master’s in Math Education from The University of the South (Sewanee).

She was married to George Hartmann Sparks, Jr. for nearly fifty years, from September 25, 1948, to his death in April 1998.

June began her professional career as a research chemist in Richmond, VA, as part of a team exploring the potential for radiation as a cancer treatment, and later as a chemist in Atlanta. However, she found her true calling in education. Over her lifetime she taught ballet in Bristol, VA, math and chemistry in North Augusta, SC and Fairfax County, VA, and mathematics in Greenville, SC and Dalton, GA.

In 1967 the family settled in Dalton, where June became a founding faculty member of new Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State College). She taught mathematics, led the Developmental Studies program, and revamped how remedial math was taught; developed and taught a math course specifically for nursing students; and co-chaired the College’s accreditation review. An outstanding teacher, she was rigorous, demanding, scrupulously fair, and always available with support and tutoring. She was well known for the phrase “you mean you can’t do that…..YET!”

After retirement, June continued to flourish in Dalton as a volunteer with the Food Bank, Cherokee Girl’s Home, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and several local nursing homes, as well as the linen guild, spiritual book club, and quilting ministry at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. She learned fine needlework and created exquisite art pieces as a member of the “Dalton Gang” embroidery group. She became an exuberant traveler in her 70s with trips to Hawai’i, Alaska, the Mississippi River, Peru, and the Galapagos Islands, and remained an avid hiker and beach walker into her early 80’s.

She was a mother of three, grandmother of four, and great-grandmother of one. Her children and grandchildren remember her as a champion book-reader, tear-wiper, cheerleader, advocate, and support system. She was ever loving, a giver of unlimited hugs, a pianist, and a violinist.

June was predeceased by her husband George, parents, brothers William and George, sister Barbara, sisters-in-law Olga, Cynthia, and Elizabeth, and brothers-in-law Benjamin and George. She is survived by her three children: David Sparks (Andrea), Juliana Lancaster, and Carolyn Cook (Matthew); four grandchildren: Zachary Lancaster (Eleanna), Hope Lancaster, Eli Lancaster, and Lio Cook (Rebekah); great-granddaughter, Joy Sparks; sisters-in-law Barbara Sparks and Sue Parnell (Ed), and numerous beloved nieces, nephews, and their children.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in June’s memory to the charity of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of June Sparks, please visit our flower store.


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