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SPARACINO, Jean Elizabeth (nee Buchanan)

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.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Jennifer Buchanan-Peat :

    Auntie Jean, you are already deeply missed. As all who ever met you knows, you were a very special ‘one of a kind’ woman. Thinking of you Uncle George and Cousin Andy. xox
    Love Jennifer Leigh, Tim, Abby & Piper

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  2. Margaret, Richard and Family :

    Uncle George and Andy, we are so saddened by Auntie Jean’s passing. It was so sudden. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both. With love, Margaret

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  3. Donna Monticello :

    Bless those of you left behind. This wonderful Lady will be missed tremendously.

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  4. Lea and Bob Anderson :

    Dear George and Andrew..
    So sad to hear about Jean.
    She had such a sparkling smile and it was just such a great pleasure to know her.
    Our deepest condolences.
    Hugs….

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  5. Tom Faires and Patrizia Brasch :

    As I told my Uncle George, Aunt Jean always made me smile. Even with the great distance between Calgary and Toronto, the feeling of a family connection was always there, and easy. We will miss her. Our thoughts are with George and Andy, and we express our deepest condolences.

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  6. Danielle Revering :

    Andrew and Mr. Sparacino, I have just learned of the passing of your loving mom and wife. A great deal of the happy memories of my childhood include Greenie and Jeanie. Going on to meet your beloved son gave me a view into a family who truly lived Joy Out Loud. Thank you both for sharing her with us all of your lives. She is a spirit that has exploded free of her earthly shell and will continue to spread her light, her bright bright light to the world. During this time of grief please know that there so many people that will pause, remember Jeanie, and rededicate themselves to living Joy Out Loud and loving with the passion and immense kindness that she did. God Bless you and your family.
    To Jeanie,
    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
    All my love and prayers,
    Danielle Revering

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  7. Val Robertson :

    Thinking of you and your family at this time. Jean was such a special person, and I pray all the many good memories you have will bring you comfort in the days ahead

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  8. Betty Kingsmith :

    George, please accept my sincere condolences on the passing of Jean. I remember her as a fun-loving and very kind person. She will be remembered by all who knew her.
    Betty

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  9. Ed & Bev Fogg :

    Dear George & Andrew,

    What a great lady Jean was. Our thoughts are with you.

    Sincerely,
    Ed & Bev Fogg

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  10. George and Andrew: I am so sad to hear of Jean’s passing. I will remember her big smile and the hugs she always greeted me with. The love you all shared surrounds you still. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Fly high Jean. love, Natalie xo

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  11. Lorraine Southwick :

    George so sorry to hear about Jean I was thinking of her last week when she used to come from DC to HO and we would try to balance the books.We had a lot of laughs. I am thinking of you and Andrew. Lorraine

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  12. My thoughts are with you at this time of sadness. Jean was a very special lady.

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  13. George and Andrew.
    My thoughts are with you at this time of sadness.
    Jean was a very special lady. BIG, big smile, she will be missed.
    Denise.

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  14. Caroline Lancaster :

    I wanted to offer my prayers for Jean and all your family. In the time I spend with her many years ago she treated me with such kindness and I will never forget that! Please know my heart goes out to you in this difficult time.

    Best,

    Caroline Lancaster

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  15. I have many great memories of being around Jean when my family lived in the Bonavista community. My sincere condolences to George and Andrew for the loss of such a wonderful woman who never had nothing but a smile on her face!

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  16. Hugh & Kathy Gill :

    George & Andrew
    Jean was “Family” for me. A faithful and valued friend for over 50 years and she became very dear to Kathy as well.
    She was someone who always had a genuine concern for others, a Cheery outlook despite her own difficulties and a talent for Entertainment that made everyone join in the Fun.
    We ” Sang Along With Jeanie” in so many different times & places.
    May God grant her His Eternal Peace, with “Father Abraham” and all the saints.
    HUGH & KATHY

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  17. Lois & Dan Mutlow :

    George & Andrew
    Our condolences on the loss of such a lovely lady. Our thoughts are with you.
    Lois & Dan Mutlow

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  18. My thoughts and prayers are with you both on this sad occasion. Jean will be remembered by all for her community involvement, ready smile and sense of humour. She made a difference.

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  19. The Anton Family :

    Our deepest sympathy goes out to George and to Andy at this time. Our whole family has fond Jeannie memories from all over Bonavista – in our neighborhood and in the Rec Centre. Her smile and her music, her care and concern was appreciated by the young and the old.

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  20. Dianne Campbell :

    George, I was so very sorry to hear how sick Jean was and then I got Sherry’s email that she had passed. There are no words that can fill the void and this grieving is a journey that is different for all of us that evolves over time. The thing I remember best about Jean was her ability to make you feel so welcomed – her hugs were sincere and her smile was so infectious that you had no choice but to feel good in her presence – what a wonderful gift!! She had the heart of a servant and I have been so grateful for all of the help that both of you have been to Sherry. I regret that I have to be out of town when her celebration service is going to be but I will be there in spirit and know that it will be an amazing tribute to who she was…
    With many fond memories of a great lady,
    Dianne Campbell

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  21. The Rosenstein Family :

    Dear George & Andrew:

    How sorry we all are to hear about Jean. What an amazing person. We have such fond memories which we will always cherish. Jean was so devoted to everyone she met and we will remember her gift of respecting and making people feel so special!

    Love and our sincere blessings,
    Connie, Steve, Phil, Geoff & Kathy

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  22. Margaret & Stewart Marsden :

    Words cannot describe our sadness at Jeans passing. She was such a wonderful person and dear dear friend. She was also very valued employee of Photography by Stewart. So many wonderful happy memories from Bonavista Players to Mount Kidd camping days to countless sing a longs to working along side her. She has left such a big hole in our hearts and in our lives. We miss you Jean but may God “bless your heart”!!
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you George & Andy at this sad time.
    Love
    Margaret & Stewart

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  23. Geoffrey Faires :

    Uncle George and Andy, from Rose, me and the kids, we are so sorry for your loss.

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  24. Bob and Linda Humble :

    Dear George

    We we so sorry to hear of Jean’s passing. She was a lovely lady.

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  25. David, Janice, Sarah and Michael :

    Auntie Jean was an inspiration. Her smile and laugh were infectious and it was always wonderful when she showed up at our Christmas gatherings with her guitar. Our condolences to Uncle George and Andy.

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