JOHN CAMPBELL (CAM) SPARLING B.A. B.Ed.
October 31, 1948 – May 12, 2022
Cam was born in Powell River BC, but moved to Winnipeg as a newborn, growing up in the River Heights area. The youngest of three children, Cam is survived by his wife of 50 years Sherrie, his daughter Melanie (Trevor) and granddaughters Meghan and Morgan, his son Jason (Charlene), and grandchildren Lisa, Joshua and Bradley, sisters Sandra Trueman of Richmond British Columbia and Susan Anderson (Drew) of Calgary Alberta, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Cam met his future wife Sherrie at a River Heights Community Club dance in 1966, and they married in November of 1971.
They lived in Winnipeg for 4 years while Cam attended the University of Manitoba for his B.A and B.Ed. , welcoming the arrival of their daughter Melanie in March of 1974. Cam obtained a teaching position in Niverville Manitoba in 1975 and they said good-bye to city living, moving first to St Adolphe then to Île des Chênes in 1976 shortly before the arrival of their son Jason in February 1977. After one more move, they built their dream log home in 1991 on a small acreage south of the village.
Cam was an avid sports fan all his life. He especially loved playing hockey from the time he was old enough to stand on skates and was one of the biggest fans of the Winnipeg Jets. When his children were young, he taught them to ride their bikes and to throw a baseball, practicing often with them in the back yard. Together he and Sherrie attended the children’s baseball games at the Optimist Park in Île des Chênes and as far away as Zhoda and Vita. He was so encouraging of their efforts and immensely proud of their achievements both on the baseball field and in their courses of study. He truly enjoyed going to his children’s sporting events and artistic performances.
As a young man Cam also enjoyed target shooting, especially trap and skeet, and occasional duck hunting in the fall. During summers at West Hawk and Big Whiteshell lakes he enjoyed boating, water skiing, snorkelling, swimming, and fishing with the children.
Cam’s career as a teacher was another way for him to enjoy sports. He coached both baseball and basketball while teaching math and social studies at Niverville Collegiate (1975-1988). His former students still remember him fondly, some reconnecting with him once he moved to Niverville for the last months of his life.
From 1991 until his passing, Cam and Sherrie were involved in the competitive sport of purebred dog breeding and showmanship. Together they bred and exhibited more than 70 Canadian and/or American Champion Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, a source of great pride to them both. The sport opened new doors to new friends, resulting in many dinner parties and evenings roasting marshmallows around the fire-pit.
Cam loved his children and grandchildren so very much and frequently talked about them and their respective futures. When the grandchildren were babies, nothing made him happier than being able to hold them, snuggle them and read to them.
Cam experienced the first obvious exacerbation of the disease in 1971at the age of 23 but was not diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis until 1978, just before his 30th birthday. He managed with increasing difficulty to continue teaching until the progression of the disease rendered him incapable of continuing his career. Over the ensuing years, his disability grew to the extent that he was wheelchair-bound, and eventually fully incapacitated. Cam spent his last few months in a personal care home where he received the most compassionate care possible from all the staff.
The family would like to express sincere gratitude to all involved in Cam’s care at the Crocus Cove Unit of the Heritage Life Personal Care Home in Niverville for their attention and devotion to Cam’s needs in the last months of his life.
It was Cam’s wish to not have a funeral or memorial service, therefore his family will gather to scatter his ashes privately.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks those who wish to express condolences to do so by donating to the Canadian MS Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society, or a charity of their choice.
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