CEDAR RAPIDS — Stuart “Stu” Sparling, 72, of Cedar Rapids, formerly of Bettendorf, died Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, at Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House in Hiawatha, Iowa.
A service to celebrate his life will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, at Christ’s Family Church, 4601 Utica Ridge Road, Davenport. He will be laid to rest at Davenport Memorial Park, where military graveside honors will be conducted. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Friday at McGinnis-Chambers Funeral Home in Bettendorf and one hour prior to services Saturday at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Bettendorf High School athletic program.
He was born Sept. 17, 1942, in Davenport, the son of Stanley H. & Betty (Slocum) Sparling. On Aug. 3, 1963, he was united in marriage to Grace E. Stater in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Stu was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1966 and served in Vietnam. In 1968, he was honorably discharged as a Specialist 4th Class and later became a member of the American Legion.
He founded, owned and operated Sparling Recycling in Cedar Rapids for a number of years. In earlier years, he was the program director at Davenport Friendly House and was also superintendent of Bettendorf Parks & Recreation Department in the late 1960s during the time when Middle Park and the swimming pool were established.
Stu was a 1961 graduate of Bettendorf High School, where he played fullback back in the days of the single-wing formation. His position in today’s football translates to being the quarterback (he got the snap from center on every play and threw the passes). He was the captain and was fifth team all-state in 1960, and a member of the mythical state champs that never lost a game from seventh to twelfth grade. Stu went on to play at Wyoming under the legendary coach, Bob Devaney. When Devaney left for Nebraska, Stu transferred to Northeast Missouri State. His picture is on the Bettendorf football website with the all-state teams.
He remained an avid sports fan all of his life, especially the Bulldogs, Hawkeyes and Chicago Bears. Stu devoted many hours of volunteer work, especially with youth, and was instrumental in forming Bettendorf Track Club.
Those left to honor his memory include his wife, Grace; his daughters, Dawn (Jeff) McGuire, Hiawatha, and Julie (Bryan) Diemer, Chicago; his grandchildren, Peyton and Mallory McGuire, and Abigail, Lauren and Ellie Diemer; his sisters, June (Bob) Fischer, Columbus, Ohio; Joy (Ron Stevenson) Sparling, Seal Beach, Calif.; and Gay (Bill) Gutknecht, Cordova, Tenn.; his brother, Steve (Lynne) Sparling, Miami, Fla.; and numerous nieces, nephews and wonderful friends.
He was preceded in death by his infant son, Shawn Edward Sparling; and by his parents, Betty and Stanley Sparling.
Condolences may be expressed to the family by viewing Stu’s obituary at www.McGinnis-Chambers.com.