Bernadine Lillian (Luther) Sparks, 90, of Discovery Bay, California, was welcomed into Heaven on March 26th, 2021, surrounded by family at her home in Discovery Bay, CA. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, April 23, 2021 at Delta Community Presbyterian Church, 1900 Willow Lake Road, Discovery Bay, CA 94505. 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 at 5615 Berwick Court, Discovery Bay. A visitation will be open to the public from 9:30 AM until 10:30 AM. An internment service will be held on June 5, 2021 at 2:00 PM at the Salem Cemetery, rural Enderlin, ND with a reception following at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Enderlin, ND. 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, CA one or two days prior to the funeral.
Bernadine Lillian (Luther) Sparks was born on June 5, 1930 in Sheldon, North Dakota and grew up on a farm near Alice, North Dakota. She is the daughter of Edwin and Lillian (Utke) Luther who farmed for many years in the Alice and Sheldon communities. Edwin and his brother Harold farmed and owned and operated the Luther Brother’s Corporation near Alice, North Dakota.
Bernadine could play accordion and piano by ear at the age of four. Bernadine was in numerous musical activities including her role as an accompanist for soloists, quartets, and the Enderlin a cappella choir. She also accompanied various church and community musical groups including the Enderlin Men’s Community Chorus.
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 played as the Chapel Organist. Bernadine taught at the Horace Marin School in Fargo, North Dakota after graduating from college. While teaching in Fargo, she became the president of the kindergarten and first grade teachers in the public schools.
During Bernadine’s junior year in high school, she met Clinton Lee Sparks (12/4/1930 - 12/24/2017). On August 3, 1958, Clinton and Bernadine were married in Sheldon, North Dakota at the Evangelical United Brethren Church, now known as the United Methodist Church. After their marriage, they moved to California where Bernadine was 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, California. Her husband, Clinton, was a college professor with a Doctorate in Education. Among his many academic accomplishments, he was Founder and Dean of the Graduate School at Simpson University in San Francisco, California. Dr. Clinton Sparks is buried at Salem Cemetery, rural Enderlin, ND.
While residing in Fremont, CA, Clinton and Bernadine attended and were involved in musical productions at the Centerville Presbyterian 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, CA in 1999. 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).