Dorathea Sparks passed away April 17, 2021. Her mind was strong until the end but her decades-long battle with multiple sclerosis finally came to an end, sending her to the arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ. She passed peacefully surrounded by her family.
Dorathea was born to Naomi and Henry Lambertus in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1930 and moved to California with her mother's family when she was two years old. A life-long resident of Reedley Ca. Dorathea graduated from Reedley High School and then attended Reedley College, where she met the love of her life, Arnold Sparks. They married August 25, 1950 and spent the next three years in San Francisco while Arnold attended pharmacy school, returning back to Reedley where the lived for nearly 70 years. They raised their five children in Reedley, taking them on annual vacations to the beach and camping in the Sierra mountains. To her children and their friends, she often repeated her favorite instruction, "Be a decent Christian and get a working education!"
Her church was a focal point for her life. She played the piano and organ for church services (First Baptist Church), having started to do so when she was a teenager. Her children were blessed being raised with classical music and hymns. She taught Sunday School, and often Vacation Bible School, for 30 years, the highlight for many children being her flannel graph Bible stories. Although in her later years she struggled physically, her faith never faltered. She attended Church wherever she was every week as long as she was able.
Dorathea had a life-long curiosity, reading books and her bible daily. Her hobby was collecting things that interested her especially newspaper articles on a variety of topics (that she filled in her own home library), pieces of blue glass and pewter, demitasse sets, and music boxes. Her love of reading and information translated into her work as a library assistant at the Reedley library where she worked for 20 years.
Dorathea was preceded in death by her parents Naomi and Henry Lambertus. She is survived by her loving, devoted husband of 70 years, Arnold Sparks, and their five children: Tom (Sandi), Dan (Leslie), Janet Strandberg (Tom), Debbie Sanborn (Max) and Joe (Beth). 14 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and sister Camilla Koch.
Due to COVID restrictions, the funeral service will be limited to family only. In lieu of flowers or remembrances, the family suggests donations to Friends of the Reedley Branch Library ; https:/www.fresnofol.org/donate/.