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302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

Caroline Massey Sparks

Caroline Massey Sparks, age 99, passed away peacefully on May 24 at Stonegates, Wilmington, Delaware. Born in Bronxville, NY to Edith and Frederic Massey, she grew up in Merion, PA, and graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1938 and from Stephens College in 1940. Following a brief career as an office assistant at her high school alma mater, she married Archie G. Sparks Jr. (“Arch”) in 1942.
Arch worked as a chemical engineer for the DuPont Company for 35 years. Except for relatively brief transfers to Orange, Texas and Los Angeles, CA, Caroline and Arch lived in Deerhurst from 1946 until he passed away in 1989, during which time they raised two children. Caroline continued to live in Deerhurst until 2014, when she moved to Stonegates.
Caroline was an avid gardener, volunteered at Winterthur, at community libraries and at Westminster Presbyterian Church, loved watching the Phillies, and pursued her two passions, genealogy and duplicate bridge. She was an active member of the Delaware Genealogical Society where she proof read its journal and, on a more personal side, traced her family’s roots in the United States to Jeffrey Massey, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630. She was an active member of the Delaware duplicate bridge community for over 60 years. Prior to Arch’s passing, she and Arch played in numerous regional, national and international duplicate bridge tournaments. Thereafter, she continued to play in local duplicate bridge events and, shortly before her 99th birthday, she earned her 2500th master point and the American Contract Bridge League status of Gold Life Master. After moving to Stonegates, she also played bridge with her many friends there and volunteered in the library.
In addition to Arch, Caroline was predeceased by her son Jeff. Caroline is survived by her son Gil (wife Mimi) of Greenville, DE; daughter-in law Joanne Hawks of Greensboro, North Carolina; grandsons Stephen Sparks of Greenville, DE and Andrew Sparks (wife Laura Sparks) of Chestnut Hill, PA, and two great grandchildren, Casey Sparks and Haoshun Sparks.
Caroline’s family extends their thanks to all the staff at Stonegates, who made her entire stay there very enjoyable and provided compassionate care in her final months. Because of Covid 19 there will be no memorial service and burial will be private.
Contributions in Caroline’s name may be made to The Food Bank of Delaware, 222 Lake Drive, Newark , DE 19702 or to Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE 19735.

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    Kathie and Bert Boulay lit a candle and writes,
    So very sorry we can't be there to share in your grief but our thoughts and prayers are with the entire extended Sparks family. A donation in Caroline's name has been made to the Delaware Food Bank.
    05/26/2020 12:55 pm
    Elaine T Smith writes,
    Caroline was one of my bridge partners at dupont for many years. She played an old fashioned game, but was always a great player and an amazing judge of how the game was going. Before we played at dupont we were in a local group at each others houses. We loved to play at her home in the spring when her woods were in bloom. She is missed.
    05/27/2020 11:28 am
    Judy Ritchie writes,
    Gil, I was so glad to have gotten to be with Aunt Caroline for her 90th birthday celebration. Also Was able to go to visit her at her home a couples of times. She was so lively and interested in what was happening. Loved her beautiful yard. You and your Mom reminded me so much of our family. Think we have some good genes. Was planning to come out from Washington for your Moms 100th. She always wrote such nice long letters to me even a long time ago and she would include some cash for me which was nice back then. Will miss her. Love, Judy
    05/27/2020 06:22 pm
    Irene Heffran Monley, president of the Delaware Genealogical Society lit a candle and writes,
    On behalf of the Board of Governors of the Delaware Genealogical Society (DGS), I would like to extend our condolences to your family. As you know, Caroline was one of the founding members of DGS and a member for forty years. In the early years of the society, she served as secretary and was on the Board of Governors. She was chair of the Tombstone Research Committee and on the Publications Committee. For ten years she was co-editor of the Delaware Genealogical Society Journal, and until 2015 was a meticulous proofreader of the journal. We thank her for her many years of service and will miss her.
    05/28/2020 02:44 pm
    Colette Watson lit a candle and writes,
    Caroline was an amazing friend and neighbor. Many years ago she was known to my children as the “candy lady.” To me and many others she was a wonderful person and a devoted gardener.
    05/29/2020 06:17 pm
    Jan Rocek writes,
    Caroline was my bridge partner and bridge teacher and very dear friend. I am so glad that she achieved the recognition of her excellence by becoming an ACBL Gold Life Master just a little over a year ago and I remember well how happy this achievement and recognition made her. After she moved into Health Care she gave me her bridge books including one signed by Charles H. Goren himself. I treasure this special expression of friendship, but will be happy to give the books to the family if desired. I will miss my gentle teacher and friend.
    06/09/2020 10:38 pm
    Suzy Johnson Harris writes,
    Gil, this is indeed sad news, especially when Joanne and I had spoken often of trying to coordinate a trip back home to Wilmington to coincide with Mrs. Spark's 100th Birthday in August. One of the highlights of every Christmas was the call to her while we were making Christmas cookies. I just loved her laugh and upbeat stories of your family and all she was doing. Going back to childhood memories she inspired my interest in stamp collecting and we have her love for genealogy that inspired Joanne, in particular, to do a vast amount of research about our family. What lovely, kind and accomplished neighbors Arch and Caroline were, where we always felt welcome to pop in. From next door, we loved Caroline's woodsy beautiful garden as it became more lovely with the changes of the calendar. And again, her mentoring, along with Mom, has inspired Joanne's love of gardening (tough for me to do in Manhattan but always a delight to relish Joanne's garden). We all have been blessed with such happy memories of Deerhurst and Mrs. Sparks is among my favorite! Much love to you and Mimi and your family.
    06/12/2020 06:46 pm
    Nancy McAuley writes,
    Caro was quite the gal! We met in England at a Goren bridge trip and clicked with Archie and Caroline. She invited us to come to the Lancaster bridge tournament in the fall and they came to us for the Toronto tournament in the spring. This went on for many years. We met overseas a few times and had such good times together. I always think of Caroline when the leaves come down as my late husband, Doug, raked them up on Peirce Dr. the odd time. When I tried to phone Caro today I knew there was something wrong. My son, Rob, who is here because of Covid-19, got on the internet and told me she had passed away. It hurt, but what a wonderful life Caroline had. She gave so much pleasure to all her friends, especially me. Thanks for sharing your mom and dad with us. Nancy McAuley and Archie, my dog. ❤️
    11/18/2020 03:32 pm
    Douglas Twitchell lit a candle and writes,
    Gil, Mimi and family: I am sorry I missed the news of the passing of your mother in May. We had received a Christmas card from her last year so I was concerned when we did not receive one this year. She lived a long life and it is wonderful that she was there for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Your mom was a dear friend to my mother, Janet, and from my earliest memories I always referred to her as Aunt Caroline. She visited us when we lived in Washington State and again here in San Francisco. For many years in the 60’s and 70’s I heard stories from my mother of the latest “Eager Beaver” projects that she, your mother and their other friends were doing. You were blessed to have her with you for these many years. You will always cherish the memories. – Doug and Carla Twitchell.
    12/27/2020 09:30 pm

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