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Mary E. Sparkes

06/14/1925 - 06/20/2020

Mary E Sparkes, 95, was called home on June 20, 2020. There to meet her were her husband Roy, and daughter Katherine Black as well as her parents, sisters and brothers. Left with many wonderful memories are her sons Thomas Buntin and Richard Buntin, grandchildren Jodie Black, Cassandra Black, Richard Black, Jacklyn Buntin, and Franklin Buntin and 9 great-grandchildren, cousins and many nieces and nephews.

She was born June 14, 1925 in Washington Mills, New York. Mary joined the Women’s Army Corps in 1944. She was assigned as a VIP Chauffeur to transport dignitaries to and from Los Alamos National Laboratory to Santa Fe, New Mexico. She drove physicists, chemists, generals and physicians as well as Paul Tibbets who dropped the Atomic Bomb. They were all informed to not speak to anyone about the Atomic Bomb testing that was nearby.  She never mentioned what she actually did in the Army until recent years when she read a book about the Manhattan Project and decided it was now okay to talk.

Mary later got her pilot’s license and became a Civil Air Patrol Lieutenant.  She then attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She went to work for Sears and became a buyer of women’s clothing.

After 29 years working for Sears, she retired in 1988 and moved to Mesa, Arizona. She became active in several adult retirement communities where she lived and loved to organize sightseeing day trips around Arizona. She also became an avid Bridge player.

The immediate family will hold a private memorial service at a date, time and place to be determined.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of choice. Cancer research or dementia research would be of interest to her.


  • Orrah Hards Wicks

    I was so glad that I was able to visit her twice when she was in Arizona. She also visited me in Buffalo and still use the pretty bowl she gave me. My sympathy to all.

  • DeVee Brown, from Meridian Manor

    Mary was a wonderful member of our community for many years. We missed her greatly when she moved to Fellowship Square. She was such a generous person of her time and talents here in Meridian Manor. And she didn’t stop sharing her time and talents when she moved as I know she was very active in FS. I send my deepest condolences to you and her family. May she rest in peace!

  • Beverly Thompson Butler

    Aunt Mary was a good and loving aunt. She did so much for me as we Tommy & Dick grew up. One thing I can remember about her she would take us to Sears In Dothan where she worked and we would go to the candy dept. and she always bought us whatever we wanted. My prayers go out to Tommy that I have known all of my life. May God Be with you!

  • Jodie Black, grandchild

    Enjoy eternal life with your daughter, you both are so loved. I will thank you in spirit one day for all that you have done. God rest grandma, and watch over all of us like you have always done??????

  • Mary was my favorite smiling carefree great friend and she was my American cousin, our family loved her very much, her company was a thrill everytime we saw her, she visited Muskoka Canada as much as she could, almost every summer she was there, enjoying her cousins, friends laughing always, lifting us all up with her stories and charm, always thanking us, very wonderful moments l remember, having fun at the lake helping out with meals and visiting all around daily, close in touch with me with emails phone calls and cards shared often, her company l will miss, happy she was, she loved life and people around her, she will be missed by all, my condolences to the family, peace and love, Paul in Canada.

  • Sylvia Saffell

    My husband, Harry, and I send Mary’s family our deepest condolences. We first met Mary in 2004, after we moved to Meridian Manor. She was truly a wonderful lady and friend. When Mary planned on moving to Fellowship Square our community crowned Mary “Queen For a Day”. We continued to see Mary at Fellowship Square and she and my mother became friends when Mom also moved to Fellowship Square. Mary was a gem and will be missed by many.

  • I didn’t know you very well but being around you always made me feel comfortable. When hearing about your past I was so surprised, the main reason being that you were such a “little lady”. How could you have done so much and been in so many places. I am happy that I was able to know someone as sweet as you Mary. I am sure your Spirit above will be on God’s right hand.

  • Mary was one of the first people I met when I moved to MM and she made me feel welcome She was very sweet and helpful. I miss residents like her My condolences to her family I know she will be missed

  • Susan Lombardo (Mary knew me as Houle)

    Mary was and will remain an inspiration. She knew what life was, a gift, and she shared it with all she met. Life is also a wonderful responsibility and Mary rose to all its challenges with intelligence, ingenuity and work! My condolences to her family.

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