Sparby, Alva Karol (Leshar) (1926-2010)

Alva Sparby, 84, of Grygla, MN died on Friday, October 8, 2010 at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND surrounded by her loving family.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 AM on Monday, October 11, 2010 at United Lutheran Church in Gatzke, MN with Pastor Katie Koch officiating. Burial will follow at Landstad Cemetery, rural Gatzke, MN.

Visitation will be held from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM with a 6:00 PM prayer service on Sunday, October 10, 2010 at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN. Visitation will also be held from 9:30 AM until 10:30 AM on Monday at the church.

Alva Karol Sparby was born on July 16, 1926 at home in rural Grygla, Minnesota, the daughter of Joseph and Bertha (Nygaard) Leshar. She was baptized and confirmed into the Lutheran faith. Alva attended school at the Leshar School, Loven School, Eastby School, and graduated from Crookston Ag School in 1944.

Following high school, Alva went to work for a year in the shipyards in the Seattle area. When Alva returned from Washington she worked for the Gatzke Store as well as the Shager and Lian Families in the Gatzke area.

On July 7, 1946, Alva was united in marriage to Alton Magnus Sparby at Landstad Lutheran Church near Gatzke. They settled on the Sparby family farm and to this union eight children were born: Eldon, Jerome, Dennis, Robert, James, David, Steven and Karen. They operated a diverse farm which included small grains and dairy cattle. She worked very hard at home tending to the milking and the land. She also worked for several years at the Land O’ Lakes Turkey Plant, and once her family was grown and had left home, she took her expertise cooking skills to the children at the Gaztke and Grygla Schools where she proudly worked cooking for them until her retirement.

Alva’s family was always very important to her. She continued her connection to the farm by occasionally bringing meals to her family working in the field. Alva loved attending all of her children’s and grandchildren’s activities and programs. She and her late husband, Alton attended thousands of sporting and community events. Alva really enjoyed cooking for and feeding her entire family. She will especially be remembered for her homemade buns and jam. Alva also enjoyed fishing, playing Rook with friends and family, visiting with and entertaining neighbors, friends and family. For the 61 years of marriage they shared, she loved dancing and traveling with Alton.

Alva was a member of United Lutheran Church in Gatzke where she was active in the Ladies Aid and quilting group. She was a member of the Grygla Lions and Fourtown-Grygla Sportmans Club.

Survivors include her loving children, Eldon (Linda) Sparby of Middle River, Jerry (Luci) Sparby of Cold Spring, Dennis Sparby of Milaca, Bob (Sue) Sparby of Eden Prairie, Jim (Tami) Sparby of Grygla, Steve (Julie) Sparby of Grygla, Karen (Joe) Ranum of Thief River Falls; 22 grandchildren; 6 step-grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; 8 step-great-grandchildren; 3 step-great-great-grandchildren; brother, Wallace (Ione) Sparby of Thief River Falls; sister-in-law, Geneva Sparby of Bloomington as well as many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Alva was preceded in death by her husband, Alton; son, David; three grandchildren; daughter-in-law, Julia and her parents.

Johnson Funeral Service

Transcribed by: Cheryl Srnsky