Raymond L. Sparling
It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Raymond Lewis Sparling on September 28, 2021. Ray was born May 13, 1947. He attended Juanita Elementary school, Kirkland Junior high and graduated from Lake Washington High School in 1965. After high school Ray was drafted into the Army and was scheduled to go to Vietnam before the Pueblo Navy ship crisis sent him and his unit to South Korea. In Korea Ray drove his fellow soldiers to and from their camp and the DMZ. After returning from Korea, Ray worked briefly at Midas Muffler in Bellevue before pursuing his passion, selling cars. Ray started buying and selling cars before he was old enough to drive. Ray worked at several dealerships including Lee Johnson Chevrolet, and Dick Balch Chevrolet before he joined the staff at Sunset Chevrolet in Sumner. Ray stayed at Sunset for decades and became an owner while making this dealership one of the most successful in the State of Washington. Ray enjoyed taking his team from Sunset fishing in Canada many times.
Ray sold his part of the dealership and moved to Arizona where he commuted back to Washington to do the radio ads for Sunset Chevrolet. Ray stayed retired for a little more than six months before he bought a dealership in Wickenburg, Arizona. When the economy collapsed in 2008, he again retired, this time to spend time on his other passions of spending time with family and fishing with his brother Steve.
Not wanting to spend the hot summers in Arizona, Ray purchased a home in Helena, Montana, one of his favorite fishing spots. Ray had decided that fishing the coastal rivers in Washington in the winter was way too cold and wet, something he didn’t want to do anymore.
Ray’s health took a turn for the worse when he was diagnosed with IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis) Ray still fished, but it became difficult until he received a double lung transplant. After months of recovery Ray went back to Helena where the fish feared his return.
Ray was then stricken with Covid-19 and it took a huge toll on him. He fought back again and again against Covid-19 but the onset of a bacterial infection behind his eye ended his fight.
Ray was a lover not a fighter, except for fighting for his life. Like a cat with nine lives, Ray continued to fight off this deadly infection spending many weeks in the hospital more than a few times. Ray’s always positive attitude and his warm smile helped him through the last years of his life. He always knew he’d get better and that he would catch more fish than anyone fishing with him.
Ray was preceded in death by his father Victor, mother Roxanne, sister Shannon, and brother Steve. Ray is survived by his wife, Jenni, former wife Shari, sons Victor Sparling (Rachel), Sky Sparling (Trish), daughter Kennedy Walters, sisters Vicki Mead (Dee), Harriet Arnold (Tim), and Heidi Williams (Dave), and grandchildren Roxie, Jack, Summer and great-granddaughter Jade. Ray wouldn’t want any of us to be sad, but to enjoy every day.