Mary Lucille (Blaine) Sparks

September 26, 1921 - July 3, 2016

SALEM - Mary Lucille Blaine was born on July 26,1921, the oldest of ten children.

Her parents, Byron James and Sarah Elizabeth, lived in a farmhouse along the Red River near Fargo, North Dakota. 

When Mary was a young girl, the family moved to a rural area in Downey, California, where her father operated a small dairy. During Mary's grade school years, the family moved again to Silverton, Oregon, where Mary attended Eugene Field Elementary School.

Mary's high school years were spent at Mollala Union High School where Mary served as the senior class president in 1939. One of Mary's favorite memories was the successful climb of Mt. Hood in 1937 with several high school friends.

She next proudly attended Oregon College of Education in Monmouth and earned her Elementary Teaching Certificate in May of 1942. While at O.C.E., Mary met a local young dairyman at a college dance. Mary Blaine and John Edgar Sparks were married on July 19, 1942. 

John and Mary initially lived in rural Monmouth, then moved to Salem in 1955. The couple had four children, Jack, Dan, Dixie, and Pam who all attended Oregon State University. 

Mary served as Oregon State Mothers' Club president in 1965. Shortly thereafter, 

Mary completed the four year degree program at the University of Oregon Nursing School in Portland becoming a registered nurse. Mary worked for ten years as a registered nurse at Salem Hospital.

Mary's husband John died in 1985. In the thirty one years since then, Mary has lived in the Salem area near her four children and eleven grandchildren.

Mary died July third at the age of 94. As she wished, Mary will be quietly laid to rest without public ceremony. Assisting is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

Published in StatesmanJournal on July 6, 2016