We celebrated the life of Marie Marguerite Dartez Sparks, age 99, with a viewing and rosary on Monday, August 6, at 7PM at Darst Funeral Home in Kingwood, TX.
Her funeral mass was held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in Crosby, TX, on Tuesday, August 7, at 11 AM immediately followed by a fellowship lunch hosted by Sacred Heart in the parish hall.
Our mom was born at the start of the roaring 20’s on the 4th of July, 1919. She was baptized on the day she was born - some say this makes it a straight path to heaven. But I believe she has a straight path to heaven anyway because of who she was. She was the oldest girl in her family of 10. Each morning their mother would get up and bake bread for sandwiches and it was Mom’s job to make those sandwiches for her many brothers and sisters, as well as starch and iron the work shirts for her father and brothers. She had early training how to be a homemaker, and it served her (and us) well. She was in her early 20’s when WW2 broke out, and while working for the phone company on the base (Camp Lejeune), she met her future husband. After the war, they went on to have 4 children, but the marriage didn’t last.
But WOW, was she a great mom, and her cooking was unbelievable, although she was self-taught, as her mother didn’t cook well. My brother James remarked “why go out to a restaurant when mom could cook better than any chef”? She was a definite “foodie” before that was a thing. She introduced us to all types of meats, veggies, and desserts, all made from scratch. She always looked great, yet she didn’t shop in stores, but made all her clothes, as well as ours, herself.
We had a simple life. She taught us to enjoy reading, the outdoors, and to embrace our Catholic religion, and put us all through Catholic elementary school as a single parent (no need to explain further about nuns, rulers, and discipline). My sister recalls wearing the latest fashions because mom taught her to sew. She recalls going to the fabric shops and spending time searching through the scrap table and fabric books. She would patiently show her if something was put together wrong, how to fix it. She recalls mom being up till all hours sewing a new outfit for one of us, or in the kitchen starting a meal for the next day.
Mom made spaghetti every week because we loved it. Only after I grew up did I learn she didn’t even like spaghetti. The boys remember teenage summers spent painting the house in Sulphur after removing may layers of paint from every intricate crack and crevice on the wooden doors and windows, only to do it all over again if it was done wrong. That was followed by an afternoon at the local pool, our favorite summer pastime.
Mom always had a beautiful yard, and with her green thumb, could grow anything. She retired after a career with the Lake Charles American Press, but her real job was raising us. Mom always thought grandchildren were a delight. She was patient, talking to them, making them feel important, even raising one of them long after retirement.
Borrowing words that described her perfectly in an article by Mark Shea in the Catholic Register, her life was the “miraculous ordinary”. No Hollywood lights or lasers. Just steady, strong faith, morals, example, and integrity. Nothing that would make you notice her, but to us she was everything, even though we had to grow up to realize it.
Marguerite is preceded in death by her son, James Sparks. She is survived by her son John, his wife Diane, their 10 children and a grandchild. Her son George, his wife Nora and their 2 children. Her daughter Janice, her husband John, their 4 children and 8 grandchildren. For more information about the life of Marguerite, to sign the online register book, or to offer your condolences or fond memories of Marguerite to the family, please visit www.DarstFuneralHome.