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SPARKS, Ann (nee Vallat)

August 19, 1935 – Santa Monica, California
June 8, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Ann Sparks (nee Vallat) on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the age of 82 years.

Ann was a loving and devoted wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, grandmother and a few weeks short of becoming a great-grandmother. She was a dedicated mother who instilled the values of generosity, integrity and love for family in all of her children. She ensured family and friends were welcomed and brought together to celebrate birthdays, weddings, holidays and family dinners. Ann was a gracious hostess and on every important occasion, friends and family were showered with her love and generosity. She was a strong communicator and the family social convener who ensured the family stayed in touch with one another, with friends in Calgary, Windermere, and with their extended family in California and elsewhere. The Sparks family remained bonded together through Ann’s relentless efforts to ensure we maintained our connections to each other as siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Ann and her family enjoyed spending time together at their family cabins in Lake Windermere, and Quadra Island, B.C. , their condominium at Carlsbad, California and of course, when the family was together at home in Calgary. Ann was full of curiosity and deeply interested in so many things including history, traveling, reading, gardening, golfing, cooking, and hiking. She was an avid painter and embraced the art of Decorative Tole Painting. Ann modeled civic responsibility and community engagement as a regular volunteer and supporter of the Junior League of Calgary, the Junior Diabetes Association and through her gardening to help maintain the historical Gardens at the Dean House. Ann was also an active Member of Calgary Golf and Country Club, the Glencoe Club and the World Presidents’ Organization.

Ann was born in Santa Monica, California on August 19, 1935 and much of her time as a young girl was spent on the beaches in Santa Monica. She attended elementary school at Melrose Avenue School. Ann’s family moved to Bakersfield, California in 1946 where she attended Longfellow Junior High School and became an active swimmer and member of the drill team. In the fall of 1949, the Vallat family moved to Calgary as her father, a geologist, was transferred to add his expertise to the Canadian oil industry.

In Calgary Ann attended Rideau Park Junior High, Central High School and completed her High School at Stevens’ College in Columbia, Missouri. She attended Washington State University for two years where she was a Kappa Alpha Theta. It was at WSU that she met her future husband, Terry Sparks, who charmed her with his quick humour and sharp intelligence. They were married in 1955 and shortly after moved to Boston where Terry attended Harvard Business School and Ann completed her Bachelor of Education at Boston University.

After graduation in 1957, Ann and Terry moved to Calgary where Ann taught Elementary School at Windsor Park School and Terry joined and eventually became the owner of Riley’s Reproductions Ltd.

Once settled in Calgary, Ann and Terry started their family and had three children: Lynn, Todd and Wade. Ann was a dedicated mother who spent countless hours driving her three active children to hockey arenas, ski hills and swimming pools. She was also an adventurous cook who took delight in preparing extraordinary dishes so holidays were celebrated eating delicious food including her family traditional “iceballs” cinnamon buns.

Ann is survived by her husband of 63 years, Terry Sparks; her brother, Robert Vallat (Mary); her children, Lynn Sparks, Wade Sparks (Mikki); her daughter-in-law, Sheila Hellevang; her grandchildren, Cody Scott (Stephanie), Megan Lloyd (Tim), Courtney, Jack, Spencer and Kailey Sparks; her niece and nephews, Brent Vallat (Sylvia), Dianne Vick (Joe), Andy Cameron (Karen); cousins, John Vallat (Barbara), Lya Vallat (Ashley), Andy Vallat (Jennifer) and many other cousins and relatives.

Ann was predeceased by her son, Todd Sparks who died in a tragic accident only a few short days before the passing of his mother. She was also predeceased by her parents, Eugene and Marion Vallat.

Funeral Services will be held at Christ Church Elbow Park (3602 – 8th Street S.W., Calgary, AB) on Friday, June 22, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. Reception to follow at The Calgary Golf and Country Club. Condolences may be forwarded through

If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made to Hotchkiss Brain Institute – Dementia Team University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine HRIC 1A10, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 4N1. You may donate online by visiting

In living memory of Ann Sparks, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Carol Allen (was Brookes)

    I send my sincere condolences to Ann’s family. Although she had graduated from WSU just before I did, we were both members of Kappa Alpha Theta there and later, of the Junior League of Calgary and the Glencoe Club. I remember Ann as a lovely and active woman, positively touching many lives.

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  2. Junior League of Calgary

    All members of the Junior League of Calgary are saddened by Ann’s death. We send sincere condolences and sympathies to all of Ann’s family.
    Ann was a long time (50 years) active member, contributor, and volunteer in the Junior League, and she was a friend to many of us over many years.
    We will miss her.

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  3. Barbara Baldwin

    Terry and Family,
    Ann was my congenial hostess at our first Oilmen’s golf in 1986. She was very knowledgeable and showed me the “ropes”! Later, our mothers were in the Glenmore
    Auxilliary and we would visit and commiserate on their situations. We know Ann will
    be deeply missed and we extend our sincere sympathy.
    Barbara and Doug Baldwin.

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  4. Roberta Leeder

    Terry, Wade & families,
    With heavy hearts we bring you our deepest sympathies on the death of your wife and mother. Such a great loss for both of you. Reading her obituary she was certainly full of life, love and energy. I can hardly imagine the grief of losing two family members so close together with your son and brother. Please know we are praying for healing for your entire family.
    Roberta & Bill Leeder

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  5. Karen Serafini

    To the Sparks family,
    Sincere condolences from your Windermere neighbours, the Schmeeckle family. It has been a tough few weeks for all of you. We hope you will gain comfort from each other and your treasured memories.
    With best wishes,
    Karen (Schmeeckle) Serafini

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  6. My deepest condolences go out to the Sparks family. My thoughts are with you all.

    Darcy Leitz

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  7. Dawn McDonald & Grant Bartlett

    To the Sparks Family,
    There are no words to express the sorrow in our hearts. Please know that our deepest sympathy and love are with you all.

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  8. Mike C Moeser

    Dear Terry,
    I am shocked to hear the news of Ann’s passing. I will always remember Ann for her hospitality and friendship on my trips to Calgary for the Olympics and Stampede many years ago. I can’t imagine your pain at this time. Please accept my sincere condolences to you and your family.

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