Birl Sparks

Birl Sparks

Birl Sparks of Plainwell passed away Thursday, August 22, 2013 at his home. Birl was born March 30, 1936 in Salyersville, KY the son of William and Bessie (Whittaker) Sparks. For many years he was a self-employed timber buyer and had worked at Parker-Hannifin in Richland. In his leisure time he enjoyed fishing, shuffle board, his home in Florida and his family.

On April 21, 1973 he married Betty Lou Hayes who survives. Also surviving are their children, Gordon (Jackie) Stineback of Otsego, Gail (Floyd) Harmon of Mendon, Sandy (Steve) Harmon of Allegan and his children, Katherine (Randy) Franzose of ME, Sheri Sparks of Flint, Diane Plair of Wayland, and Douglas (Michelle) Sparks of Grand Blanc; 7 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren; his siblings, Helen Woods of Albion, Marylee Birman of Albion, Andy (Carole) Sparks of Otsego, Myrtle (Larry) Guess of Plainwell, Pauline (Lonnie) Drewyor, Bonnie (Jay) Beagle of Otsego, David Sparks, Bill (Chris) Sparks of Plainwell and Carl (Linda) Sparks of Otsego.

He was preceded in death by his father Will, his mother Bessie and a brother Lonnie Sparks.

Friends may meet with Birl’s family from 2 to 4 P.M. Sunday, August 25, 2013, at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego where a Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Monday, August 26, 2013, Pastor Mike Risner officiating. Burial will follow at Oakhill Cemetery, Orangeville.

Contributions in memory of Birl may be made to American Cancer Society or Wings of Hope Hospice.

Messages of condolence may be posted at

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Jana and David Aho says:

    We are so sorry Betty. We will always have fond and loving memories of Birl. We are thankful he went peacefully in his sleep. We wish we could find the perfect words of comfort to take your grief away. We love you.

  2. Bill Harrison says:

    My heart goes out for you Betty and I know Birl is in a good place. Birl and I had some great times together and I can’t think of any other hard core fisherman then him! He will be deeply missed for in peace Birl God Bless you !

  3. Sandi Bush Cornelia says:

    Sorry for your loss. Praying for family ..Stay strong Betty and remember he is home with our Lord now…

  4. Douglas G Sparks says:

    Well if you are reading this Betty I will be there to do this in person. I will be in area on Saturday so if you need any help with anything prior to Sunday and I can help please call or you can have anybody else call me at 810-348-4011. God bless and will see you Sunday.

  5. Ronald and Betty Hotchkiss says:

    Betty sorry to hear of Birl’s death. Thinking of you. We lost our bean picker. Ron & Betty

  6. Ann Summey says:

    So sorry for your lose Betty and kid;s Birl is my first cousion I have been gone from Mich for year;s I helped you all on your house when Zeke helped I am Henry Whitakers sister so nown you probley rember me i’m so sorry for your and the kid;s lose but if he had A choice he wouldn’t want to come back here .Thank god he has A good home to go to all I can say is bless each and ever one of you

  7. Helen & Marlene Gregersen 6363 Marsh Road, Shelbyville, Michigan says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss. He is now with all before watching over us all and waiting till we all meet again.

  8. Keith & Pat Clingenpeel says:

    Betty & Family,
    Our thoughts & prayers are with you as you go through this
    sad time. We so loved that crazy man.
    We will always remember our Friday nights & how much fun Birl would have picking on us girls. We will miss him so much, but knowing he is in the arms of our Savior now is what keeps us sane. Til we meet again Birl…

    Patti & Keith

  9. Paul & Lula Mathis says:

    Betty & Family Very sorry to hear of your loss, Our prayers are with you

  10. Ruby Flickinger says:

    Betty I am so sorry to hear the news of your loss, just when we were getting to know each other. We will surely miss him on the shuffle courts. Keep in touch, love to you.

  11. Sharon Fitzpatrick says:

    Betty, so sad to hear about this. Biel was a great guy and Archie thought the world of him. Prayers, Sharon

  12. Vern Curtis says:

    Betty, so sorry to hear of Birl’s passing. We enjoyed shuffleboard together. He was a fine man. Our prayers are with you and the family.

  13. Chris & Lynne Kelsey says:

    Betty, So sorry to hear of your loss. Our prayers are with you and the family.

  14. Lorene & Jack Sizemore says:

    Betty & family
    We send our sincere condolences.

  15. Jerry Deren says:

    Betty my condolences to you and family. Birl will be missed my many especially the shuffleboard family and his fishing partners.
    God bless You betty ,,see you later Birl

  16. Debbie Walley says:

    Betty, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I loved Birl and I am so sorry he is gone. I will miss him, but I believe he in a beautiful place. He will be missed by many.

  17. Don & Ruth Trautman says:

    Hi Betty. Ruth & I are so sorry to hear of Birl’s passing. Please keep your chin up. Maybe we’ll see you at Golf Lakes this winter.

  18. Rosalie & Richard Gaudrault says:

    Betty, we were so surprised to hear the news of Birl’s passing … may his soul rest in peace … and God be with you at this time of mourning … so hard to believe that just Monday we were joking around with each other prior to the tournament in Battle Creek … will be our last memory of him … unable to get to the funeral .. our sympathies to you and yours … God Bless …

  19. Nancy & John Ulicny says:

    Dear Betty, John and I send our sincere condolences to you and your family. Please know that you are in our hearts and prayers. We pray that God will hold you close to hs heart and offer you his strength . We too shall miss Birl. God Bless

  20. Grant and Florence Childerhose says:

    So surprised to hear of Birl’s passing Betty , Grant and I send our condolences to you and Family, we were fortunate to know and shuffle with him.. We will miss him. Strength to you Betty. —–Flo and Grant Childerhose

  21. Shawn Diebold says:

    I will miss Birl so very much. I saw him and spoke to him almost every day on Pine Lake, where he loved to fish. I live next door to the boat launch site on Pine Lake and work at home. I recognized the sound of Birl’s white truck, as he was launching his boat and would walk out on my deck to say “Good Morning” to him, almost every time he came to fish. I would often see him return after fishing and again, I would walk outside to ask ” So, how’d you do today Birl”. These were welcome “breaks” from my often stressful job, to chat for a few minutes with such a lovely man. He was a kind man, very friendly and would always take time to stop and chat for a little bit. He would ask me about my dogs and tell me about Betty Lou, the LOVE OF HIS LIFE whom his boat was named after! I always thought that was the “sweetest” thing! I always missed seeing him all winter, while they went to Florida, and he was a welcome sight in the Spring, the first time I would see him, come back to Pine Lake to fish. We would always have a very long chat, catching up, that first time he returned. He would ask me about my winter, and tell me all about FL, update on Betty’s & his health, and of course, the fishing he had done while away in Florida. I got many, many fish from Birl, always fillets and can count on 1 hand, how many bones I found over the years! I often saw him give his catch from the day, away to others. My family loved the fish I got from Birl, whenever they would come for a visit, I would always have a fish fry, thanks to Birl! I will miss my fisherman friend very, very much. I just wanted Betty Lou to know how much Birl touched my life, just by his kind and friendly nature. He was a very sweet man. I’m so very sorry for your loss Betty Lou, Birl will be sadly missed out here on Pine Lake! I will miss my daily breaks and my very enjoyable conversations with Birl. God Bless you and your family.

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