May 14, 1941 – Dublin, Ireland
August 24, 2013 – Calgary, AB
From the minute she was born in Dublin, Ireland, Jean was everyone’s darling. She was the fourth of Jack and Minnie Buchanan’s five children. (By Irish standards, five children was a very small family.)
The Buchanan family immigrated to Canada and arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax on Jean’s twelfth birthday – May 14, 1953 – before finally settling in Toronto. Canadians took a liking to young Jean’s Irish accent; she was asked to recite In Flanders Fields at Remembrance Day assemblies year after year (much to the envy of her schoolmates).
A seasoned talent show performer in Ireland, Jean brought her musical abilities to Canada and entered the Kiwanis Festival. Jean, with her flute, performed a duet with (of all things) a tuba player, and the unlikely duo won the competition!
Speaking of unlikely duos, it was working for Shell where Jean met her husband, George. Known to some as Jeannie and Greenie, the Sparacinos were children’s performers for over twenty-five years. With the birth of their son, Andrew, came the addition of a new character…at two years old, Andrew (also known as Patches) sat on the edge of the stage and shook maracas.
1984 brought another adventurous relocation for Jean when Shell transferred the Sparacinos to the Wild West – Calgary. Jeannie and Greenie continued the children’s entertainment and broadened their market by taking the sing-alongs to local pubs.
After experiencing the loss of many loved ones in a short period of time, Jean took grief counseling from Bob Glasgow. She went on to do several “Sing-along with Jeannie” fundraisers for the Rockyview Grief Centre in appreciation of his help.
Jean was a woman who wore many hats. She was an avid volunteer with the Bonavista Players and (reluctantly) appeared in a few performances. She worked as an office clerk at the Lake Bonavista Recreation Centre. Working with the Marsdens as the office manager at Photography by Stewart, and working and traveling with Sherry Kennedy were also some of Jean’s favourite activities.
Jean is survived by her loving husband George; son Andrew; sister Marion (Val Carnduff); and brothers Ian Buchanan and Alan (Jennifer) Buchanan. She was predeceased by her brother Tom Buchanan; and sisters-in-law Pam Buchanan and Larayne Buchanan. Auntie Jean loved and was much loved by her eleven nieces and nephews and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
In honour of Jean’s love of travel, her family will be scattering her ashes at a place very near and dear to Jean’s heart: Maui, Hawaii.
Jean Sparacino was known for her hugs, her kindness, and her love of music. In 2011, she helped to found the Healing Art of Music Foundation (HAMF), a non-profit organization assisting people of all ages and skill levels in achieving their dreams through artistic endeavors. Last year, after a year of fundraising efforts, HAMF was able to provide its inaugural bursary. Going forward, HAMF’s annual bursary will be known as The Jean Sparacino Memorial Bursary for the Healing Art of Music Foundation. In lieu of flowers, friends can make donations to HAMF in Jean’s name if they so desire. Cash donations or cheques accepted. Please make cheques payable to The Healing Art of Music Foundation (Calgary); 13212 Lake Crimson Drive SE, Calgary, AB, T2J 3K6. Gift-in-Kind receipts will be issued by HAMF. For more information on HAMF, please visit www.sherrykennedyart.com.
A Celebration of Jean’s Life will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Fish Creek Chapel (14441 Bannister Road S.E.) on Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.Print This Obituary & Condolences