Bertha Sparks-Dean

Bertha Sparks-Dean, known as “Bert or Bertie,” 91, a longtime Parsons resident, passed away at 4:20 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, at Advena Living of Cherryvale, where she has been in a nursing home for the past year.

Bert was born on Aug. 4, 1931, to William and Hester Andrews in Dearing. She grew up in the Angola and Valeda area with her wonderful large family. Bert graduated from Labette County High School, where she enjoyed playing the tenor saxophone in the marching band and making lifelong friends.

She married Melvin Leon Sparks on Oct. 30, 1949. After about five years in Parsons they moved due to Mel’s job with the Katy Railroad (later Missouri Pacific and Union Pacific). After a few short moves, the family resided for a long period in North Kansas City, Missouri, where Mel was the district chemist for the railroad. Bertie had various part-time jobs in Kansas City (where they loved her), but she was primarily a dedicated homemaker caring for Mel and raising three children.

In the late 1980s Mel became ill, retired from the railroad and they moved back to Southeast Kansas. They lived in Mound Valley and finally in the rural Welch, Oklahoma, area. They attended church at Bartlett Christian Church. Mel passed away on June 22, 1995.

Bertie then moved to Parsons and attended First Christian Church, serving on and chairing several committees. Here she met Donald L. Dean. They married in 2005 (Mom was 74 and Don was 79). They lived in rural Parsons until Don’s retirement, when they moved into Parsons. Bertie and Don joked and laughed with each other for almost 15 years. Don passed away on Feb. 6, 2020.  

Bertie’s survivors include a daughter, Patti Jarman and her husband, Ken; two sons, Michael Sparks and his wife, Elizabeth, and Steven Sparks and his wife, Cindy; 15 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; plus three sisters and their families.

In addition to her parents, Mel and Don, Bertie was preceded in death by two brothers and four sisters.

Bertie touched the lives of so many with her smiles, kindness and love.

The service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at First Christian Church with the Rev. Jennifer Dawson officiating. Burial will be in East Bethany Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Carson-Wall Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to the First Christian Church and may be left at or mailed to the funeral home, P.O. Box 942, Parsons, KS, 67357. 

Online condolences may be left at  


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