Helen Elizabeth "Beth" Russell Sparling, 92, died on July 4, 2019 at Brewster Health Center, Topeka, KS. She was the daughter of Ralph and Helen (Glockengeiser) Russell. She was born in Amarillo, Texas on September 22, 1926. Beth grew up in Butler, Missouri where her father was the High School Principal. After High School the family moved to Lawrence, KS. Beth attended Kansas University during World War II. She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega and graduated with a major in English in 1947.
While teaching High School English in Harveyville, KS, Beth fell in love with a fellow teacher, Robert Sparling, a World War II veteran and University of Kansas alumnus. They were married in the Danforth Chapel on the KU campus on August 21, 1949, the beginning date of a loving marriage which lasted just short of 70 years.
Their first child, Rebecca, arrived in September 1950 while Beth and Bob were teaching in White Cloud, KS, and their second child, David, was born in September 1951 in Hutchison KS, where Bob was Superintendent of Schools in nearby Arlington, KS.
In September 1952 Bob became a Civil Service Investigator and in 1955 was recruited to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. Bob’s government service took the family from Topeka, KS (with lengthy TDYs in New York City and Washington D.C.) to Anaheim, CA, where their third child, John, was born in May 1961. In December 1961, the family moved to McLean, VA, and, except for a tour in Athens, Greece from 1966 to 1968, they lived in one house in McLean, VA. until August 2001.
In McLean, Beth served as an Elder in Garfield Christian Church and was an active participant in the American Association of University Women, where she served a term as President and became a specialist in finding rare books for the annual AAUW Book Sale. She was also very active in the AAUW Investment Club and Book Review groups. She was an avid gardener and enjoyed playing golf. Beth and Bob became regular students of Fairfax County's social dancing classes. They played duplicate bridge with a group in McLean. While looking for a place to retire, they were frequent customers of Elderhostel at many different places usually where programs included bridge, golf, or dancing.
They chose to retire at Brewster Place in Topeka, KS arriving there in August 2001. At Brewster Place, Beth was a regular participant in many activities: the morning exercise classes, the bridge group, the Book Review Group, the quilters and the Tai-Chi classes to mention a few of her favorites. She was a volunteer for "Trash and Treasure" and the Christmas Bazaar, and she made good use of her Brewster Place garden patch. She volunteered, also, at the Sabatini Art Gallery at the Topeka Library.
Beth suffered a second stroke in October 2015 and she received excellent care at the Brewster Health Center until her passing. Beth is survived by Robert (Bob) her husband, of 69 years; daughter Rebecca (Larry) Hinton, Topeka KS; sons, David Sparling, Front Royal VA; John (Ruth) Sparling, Sarasota FL; granddaughters: Jennifer (Bradley) Kitner, Berryville VA; Tiffany (Joseph) Filerman, Front Royal VA; Laura (J. Michael) Rudolph, Topeka KS; Elizabeth (Nicholas) Parent, Nashville TN; and 7 great-grandchildren: Cynthia, Dagan, Jacob, Charlie, Wesley, Hannah and Leona. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Ralph Eugene Russell.
Beth will be cremated and an informal memorial service and reception will be Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, 3:00 pm at Brewster Place Chapel, 1205 SW 29th St., Topeka, KS 66611. Inurnment will be in the cemetery at Oneida, KS, at a later date, where there is a stone marker for Beth and Bob.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the Brewster Foundation, 1205 SW 29th St, Topeka, KS 66611 or www.brewsterliving.org/Foundation.
Dove Southwest Chapel and Brewster staff will assist with arrangements.
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