Obituary published September 12, 2013 in The Mexico ledger

Family centered, strong-minded, ethical, intelligent, conscientious, avid Cardinals and MU football and basketball fan!   
This describes Winifred “Winnie” (Williams) Sparks.  Winnie, 86, passed away Sunday September 8, 2013 surrounded by family at The Neighborhoods in Columbia, MO.  She lived in Columbia for the last 8 years, but always considered Mexico, Missouri her home.   A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church on December 7th.  Inurnment will be to the Columbarium on site at the church.
Winnie was born October 11, 1926 to B. Turner and Julia Ward (Cave) Williams in Mexico, MO.  She graduated from Mexico High School in 1944, attended Christian College for two years, and then graduated from the University of MO in 1948 with a BS in Education.  In 1948 she was married to John Crockett Sparks of Kirkwood, MO and they had five children.  
Children and education were always important to Winnie.  She taught second grade at McMillian Elementary school in Mexico for 13 years, retiring in 1982.  She also taught in Kirkwood, MO, and Rockville, MD.
Winnie enjoyed traveling and spending time with her grandchildren.  She was a member of several bridge clubs and participated in numerous church activities of the Mexico First Presbyterian Church.  In addition, she was active in the P.E.O. Club and a Mexico, Mo. King’s Daughter’s Circle.  Winnie was honored to receive the Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellow Award in 1997.
Winnie is survived by her children Leigh (Rusty) Taylor, Columbia, MO; Sally (Tim) Lankford of Kenilworth, Il.; John “Skip” (Pat) Sparks of Kansas City, MO; Steve (Betsy) Sparks, Potomac, MD; and Nancy (Mark) Sheen, Bellaire, TX; 15 grandchildren, one great-grandchild and many other family members.
Winifred Sparks was preceded in death by her sister Mary Kathryn “Muff” Yeargain O’Reilly and her brother Edwin Warner Williams also of Mexico.  
Memorials may be sent to the Williams Family Support Center (% Tim Williams, PO Box 597, Mexico, MO); the Mexico First Presbyterian Church or to the Mexico, MO DK Chapter of the P.E.O. for their Educational Loan Fund.  
 Online condolences may be left for the family at