Bernadine Lillian (Luther) Sparks, 90, of Discovery Bay, California, was welcomed into Heaven March 26, 2021, surrounded by family at her home in Discovery Bay.
Sparks was born on June 5, 1930, in Sheldon, North Dakota, and grew up on a farm near Alice, North Dakota. Bernadine could play accordion and piano by ear at the age of 4. She participated in numerous musical activities, including her role as an accompanist for soloists, quartets and the Enderlin a cappella choir.
Bernadine graduated from Westmar College in Le Mars, Iowa, in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Music. While in college, she served as the chapel organist. Bernadine taught at the Horace Marin School in Fargo, North Dakota, after graduating from college.
During Bernadine’s junior year in high school, she met Clinton Lee Sparks (Dec. 4, 1930 – Dec. 24, 2017). On Aug. 3, 1958, Clinton and Bernadine were married in Sheldon, North Dakota, at the Evangelical United Brethren Church. After their wedding, they moved to California, where Bernadine became a California-credentialed teacher and taught both kindergarten and first grade in the Merced and Fremont public schools.
Bernadine was an accomplished pianist and performed for numerous engagements. She also owned and operated a piano studio in Fremont. While residing in Fremont, Clinton and Bernadine attended and were involved in musical productions at the Centerville Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Free Church (now Bridges). After almost 30 years residing in Fremont and working as a teacher in the Fremont Unified School District, Bernadine retired from teaching in 1994, and she and her husband relocated to Discovery Bay in 1997. They attended and were involved in the Delta Community Presbyterian Church. After retirement, Clinton and Bernadine continued to own and manage the Sparks Farms operations near Alice, Enderlin, and Horace, North Dakota.
Clinton and Bernadine were married for 59 years before Clinton’s passing. Bernadine is survived by her two sons, Lee Clinton (Nancy) of Benicia, CA, Glen Edwin (Anita) of Discovery Bay, CA, and her four grandchildren, Janelle and Alanna (Glen), Melody and Violet Sparks (Lee).
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 23, 2021, at Delta Community Presbyterian Church, 1900 Willow Lake Road, Discovery Bay. Reverend Douglas Schoonover will officiate, and the funeral service will be live-streamed on the Delta Community Presbyterian Church YouTube channel. A reception will follow immediately after the service. A visitation will be open to the public from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. An interment service will be held on June 5 in North Dakota.
Those wishing to sign Bernadine’s online guestbook may do so at www.higginsmortuary.com/tributes/Bernadine-Sparks. Condolences can be sent to the Sparks Family at 5615 Berwick Court, Discovery Bay, CA 94505. Those wishing to send flowers can send them to Delta Community Presbyterian Church in Discovery Bay one or two days prior to the funeral.