Dr. David Sparling Dies; Served in Sitka 8 Years

Dr. David Sparling

Dr. David Sparling, who served at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and for a time was the only pediatrician in the then Territory of Alaska,  died Feb. 1 in Steilacoom, Washington. He was 95.

He was born in 1925 in northern New York state, the son of the Rev. Clyde V. Sparling and Laura Strickland Sparling. After graduation from Colgate University and Albany Medical College in New York, he completed his residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

For eight years in the 1950s, he was the U.S. Public Health Service pediatrician at Mt. Edgecumbe, from whence he traveled widely on consultation tours throughout Alaska. While in Sitka he married Florence Bouzas. 

After leaving Sitka, Dr. Sparling was in pediatric practice in Tacoma from 1960 to 1997. He also was a University of Washington Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, and a member of numerous medical and civic organizations.

Dr. Sparling was a dedicated family man, reading aloud and playing games with his children and spending many days camping, skiing, hiking and vacationing with them in a cabin near Mt. Rainier. His wife Florence died in 1990 after a prolonged illness. He subsequently was married to Barbara Lehmann.

He was predeceased by stepdaughter Cynthia LaPrelle and survived by his wife; children John Sparling and Helen Sparling; brother-in-law Thomas Maresh (Carolyn); stepdaughters Jennifer Schilz (Ronald) and Amy Adkisson (Robert); seven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A family graveside service was recently held. Memorials may be made to Little Church on the Prairie (Lakewood) or Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

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