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Obituary - Mrs. Christene Clayton Sparks
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory
Mrs. Christene Clayton Sparks
STATESBORO, Ga. -- Mrs. Christene Clayton Sparks, age 80, died Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. Her death was the result of the complication of injuries received from a fall.
    The Bulloch County native was salutatorian of the 1958 graduating class of Portal High School. She also attended Georgia Southern College.
    She and her husband initially lived in Bulloch County, but they also lived in Athens, Ga.; Gainesville, Fla.; and Clemson, S.C., while he was attending graduate school. They returned to Bulloch County in 1969 and have resided in Statesboro since that time.
    Shortly after returning to Statesboro, Mrs. Sparks accepted a position as assignments coordinator in the Housing Office at Georgia Southern College. She worked at the Housing Office until her retirement from Georgia Southern University in 2000.
    Mrs. Sparks was a dedicated and loving wife, mother and grandmother, who enjoyed spending time with her family, whom she loved dearly. Any event involving family was thoroughly enjoyed and there were many such events -- birthdays, reunions, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas -- and the more visits from family members, the better she liked it. She was well-known for her delicious cooking and everyone always sought out her dishes.
    Mrs. Sparks loved her annual beach trip with as many of her children and grandchildren as could attend. For many years, the family annually spent a week at an oceanfront rental at various beaches in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. She thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the balcony while taking in the views, sounds and smells of the ocean.
    She and her husband traveled extensively over the years in the United States, Canada, Mexico and overseas to many countries in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and South America. On quite a few of their trips, they were accompanied by other members of their family. Sometimes as many as eight other family members traveled with them. Having other family members accompany them on trips made the trips even more special to Mrs. Sparks.
    Mrs. Sparks loved working with flowers. She had a large flower garden, many hanging baskets and numerous potted plants. She grew many varieties of flowers and plants and enjoyed taking care of them.
    Mrs. Sparks was a longtime Georgia Southern Eagle football fan. She and her husband held season tickets from the time Erk Russell brought football back to Georgia Southern in 1981. They attended home games and traveled to many away games over the years, including playoff and national championship games.
    Mrs. Sparks not only loved her family, she loved her church and her church family. One of the overseas trips she took was a tour to the Holy Land, which visited Israel, Jordan and Egypt. This was a very special experience for her and the family members who traveled with her.
    She was active in church all of her life and attended a number of churches as her family moved. In recent years, she was a member of Friendship Baptist Church.
    Mrs. Sparks was preceded in death by parents, John Carlton Clayton and Ethel Howell Clayton; siblings, Jacqueline "Jackie" Clayton Lowery, Bobby Ralph Clayton, Johnny Wayne Clayton, Ronnie Delayne Clayton and infant Debra Ethel Clayton; grandparents, Joseph Kisler Clayton and Bessie Parker Clayton (Jenkins County), Charlie Jefferson Howell and Amanda Mixon Howell (Bulloch County).
    Mrs. Sparks is survived by her husband of 61 years, Dr. Arthur Sparks of Statesboro, Ga.; daughter, Vicki Carter (Robert) of Albany, Ga.; sons, Brian Sparks (Lori) of Glastonbury, Conn.; Les Sparks of Statesboro, Ga.; grandchildren, Dr. Blaire Carter Suttler (Jeff) of Marietta, Ga.; Lydia Carter Wickenhoefer (Toby) of Round O, S.C.; Luke Sparks of North Kingstown, R.I.; Diana Sparks of Colchester, Conn.; and Rachel Sparks of Glastonbury, Conn.; sisters, Carlene Clayton Akins of Portal, Ga.; and Shirley Clayton Beasley (Bob) of Fayetteville, Ga.; and many nieces and nephews.
    A private graveside service and burial was held in the Brooklet City Cemetery Friday at 12:30 p.m. with Pastor Tony Pagliarullo officiating.
    Pallbearers were Brian Sparks, Les Sparks, Robert Carter, Toby Wickenhoefer, Jeff Suttler and Rachel Sparks.
    The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Benevolence Fund,  Friendship Baptist Church, 4025 Friendship Baptist Church Road, Statesboro, GA 30458; The Open Hearts Community Mission, 201 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Statesboro, GA 30458; or to the Food Bank Inc., 400 Donnie Simmons Way, Statesboro, GA 30458.
    Friends may sign the online register book at www.joineranderson.com.
    Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory of Statesboro is in charge of the arrangements.

Statesboro Herald, July 18, 2020
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