Michelle K. Sparks, Age 68

Posted January 10, 2020 at 10:41 pm

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Michelle K. Sparks of Verona, Wis., died Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, with husband Steve by her side at Meriter Hospital. Her final days were spent with her entire family home for Christmas.

An informal memorial gathering was held on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Memorials may be made to the charity of choice. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

Michelle will be remembered as a loving and attentive mother, grandmother and wife. She had a lifelong love of reading and books, which she shared with her children and grandchildren who continue to be active readers. She also touched the lives of thousands of young people as an English teacher at Belleville (WI) High School. It made her day when former students told her how much her coaching in writing and appreciation of great literature helped them be successful in college and life.

Michelle was born on June 25, 1951, in Sioux City, Iowa, the daughter of Dr. Robert and Melba (Harmon) Garvin. She grew up in Akron, Iowa, and graduated from Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, where she met her husband-to-be, Steven Sparks, through music activities. Michelle had a beautiful voice, which her children loved hearing as they grew up.

Michelle and Steven were married in June 1973. She made their home warm and welcoming, making sure Steve didn’t leave clutter around, spill food or save unneeded stuff. She looked her best every day and ensured the rest of the family did the same. Michelle challenged the kids to do their best whatever their talents, continue their love of books and stay close to their brother and sisters. When her four granddaughters came along, she loved spending time with them, taking great delight in finding the latest toy and a fun outfit to surprise them with. She always could find the best kids’ videos online.

Michelle is survived by Steve; two daughters, Amber (Chris Backley) Sparks of Washington, D.C., and Kira (Johnny) Sparks, San Francisco, Calif.; son, Shane (Susanna) Sparks, Canmore AB, Canada; four granddaughters, Isadora Backley, Finley Sparks, Ainsley Sparks and Inara Sparks; and brother, Dr. Kevin (Janette) Garvin, Omaha, Neb. She was preceded in death by mother, Melba Garvin; father, Dr. Robert Garvin; and sister, Suzanne Garvin.

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