Evelyn Sparks, 97

Evelyn Sparks, 97, of Nevada and formerly of Union, Iowa, passed away on Saturday, August 26, 2017, at Windsor Manor in Nevada under the care of St. Croix Hospice.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, at Bangor-Liberty Friends Church in rural Union, with Pastor Chris Waddle officiating. Burial will follow in the Union Cemetery south of Union. Open visitation will be held at Ryan Funeral Home in Nevada on Tuesday from 2-7 p.m., with the family present to greet friends and relatives from 5-7 p.m. Condolences may be expressed online at www.ryanfunerals.com.

Born July 22, 1920, near Hartland, Iowa, Evelyn Irene (Cory) Sparks was the daughter of George and Hazel (Tucker) Cory. She attended rural school in Marshall County and graduated in 1938 from St. Anthony High School in St. Anthony, Iowa. Following graduation she worked at several jobs, including helping with the many daily responsibilities of rural living. She later worked at Donnelley Marketing in Nevada. Evelyn was a member of the Bangor Liberty Friends Church in Bangor, Iowa. She also attended the First United Methodist Church in Nevada.

On January 23, 1949, she was married to James C. Sparks at Liberty Friends Church near Clemons, Iowa, where she was a pianist for over thirty years. The couple made their home on a farm southwest of Union. Evelyn worked tirelessly in fulfilling her role as a farm wife, and was willing to help out in any way with the crop and livestock operations. Evelyn was proud to tell others in later years that they lived on a farm and “we had three girls!”, so she continued driving the tractor. Evelyn spent many hours mowing on the cub cadet, canning and freezing the produce from the garden, raising chickens, running after parts, sewing outfits for the girls and spending time in the kitchen with meal preparation and baking. Her world revolved around her church and family and she gave of herself to them both. She enjoyed spending time at the Sparks and Cory family gatherings, which usually involved good food.

Evelyn and Jim moved from the farm to Union in 1996. In 2010, she moved to Nevada. She later moved to Bickford Assisted Living in Ames and recently lived at Windsor Manor in Nevada. The family is grateful for the loving care and support provided by the staff at Windsor Manor and St. Croix Hospice.

Those left to cherish her memory are her three daughters: Nancy (Steve) Smith, of Guthrie Center, Marcia (Neal) Hadden, of Oskaloosa, and Sharon (Jan) Johnson, of Nevada; nine grandchildren: Brett (Abby Snyder) Smith, of Waukee, Bart (Amanda) Smith, of Clear Lake, Stephanie (Nathan) Beck, of Adel, Ben (Cerissa) Smith, of Adel, Andrew (Samantha) Hadden, of Avon, IN, Brian (Rachel) Hadden, of Oskaloosa, Caitlin (Aaron) Kissinger, of Carlisle, Britni (Ryan) Morgan, of West Des Moines, and Jamey (fiancee Allison Joslin) Johnson, of Des Moines. Also surviving are 13 great-grandchildren: Brady, Bo, and Andi Snyder-Smith, Beckett and Huttyn Smith, Tyson and Trey Beck, Crew and Lenox Smith, Clara and Henry Morgan, and Evelyn and James Hadden; several nieces and nephews; and other extended family members.

She was preceded in death by her husband on August 14, 2004; a sister, Arlene Engle; a brother, Howard Cory; and several other extended family members.

Ryan Funeral Home of Nevada has been entrusted with the care of Evelyn and her family. Memorials in Evelyn’s name may be directed to St. Croix Hospice in Ankeny or to the Union Public Library Foundation.