Alexander Sparenberg
Alexander Sparenberg
Alexander Sparenberg
Alexander Sparenberg

Obituary of Alexander Hendrik Sparenberg

SPARENBERG:  Peacefully, surrounded by the love of his family, at North Lambton Lodge, Forest, on Monday, March 11, 2024, Alexander Hendrik Sparenberg of RR 2, Grand Bend, age 92.  Beloved husband (just 15 days shy of 64 years) to Eileen Juliana (Delrue) Sparenberg.  Loved father and father-in-law of Richard and Joanne Lewylle of Thedford, Kenneth and Caroline Lewylle of Grand Bend and Kim Heathcote and Jay Slaven of Grand Bend.  Cherished Grandpa of Greg and Christy Lewylle, Tony and Jill Lewylle, Stephanie and Doug Van Dyk, Chandler Heathcote, Grayson Heathcote and Steele Heathcote.  Treasured great-grandpa of Rebecca, Hannah, Maddie, Lacey, Quinn, Hudson, Adalyn and Sloan.  Dear brother and brother-in-law of Elizabeth Caryn of Lacombe, Alberta, Ken MacDonald of Windsor, Lexie Martin of Blenheim, Robert and Charlene Sparenberg of Cleburne, Texas,  Shirley Sparenberg of St. Thomas, Marie Srokosz of Grand Bend, Ed and Josette Delrue of Muirkirk.  Remembered by his nieces, nephews and their families. 


Predeceased by his parents Hendrik and Madelyne (Mahou) Sparenberg, sister Sidonie MacDonald, brothers Laurie Sparenberg, Otto Sparenberg, Henk Sparenberg, William Sparenberg and brothers-in-law Neftaly Caryn, John Martin, Charles Srokosz and Cyril Delrue. 


Dad the eldest of six, immigrated to Canada from Belgium on June 19th, 1953, with his siblings and parents.  His family was sponsored by the Delrue Family of Blenheim who as fate would have it would become his in-laws seven years later.  He arrived to work in beets, tobacco, tomatoes, International Harvester, assembly work maintenance and many other jobs.  He said, “He always stole with his eyes to learn what he could from wherever he worked to apply to the next job or opportunity.”


He took whatever pay was offered and when a better job came along tipped his hat and thanked them.  His childhood was heavily influenced by the ravages of war, the wonder of tanks, airplanes, guns, soldiers, shrapnel, motorcycles and enemy occupation.   In the late 50’s while sitting at a café in Chatham, a truck rolled by with an advertisement, Dad stood and said to his brother Bill, “I have my next job.”


As a debt of gratitude to Canada for liberating his beloved Belgium during the second world war Dad enlisted in what would be 4 of the most fulfilling and memorable years of his life.  He began his career in Camp Ipperwash after basic training.  He was an RCR and radio operator. It was here he played the baritone bugle in the Military Marching Band with great pride.


He went on to marry widow Eileen Delrue Lewylle and became Dad to her two sons Richard and Ken accepting them as his own.  His daughter Kim was born in 1965, after he left the army and settled in the Grand Bend area.


He and Mom would farm for brother-in-law Charles Srokosz and then work their own land.  In their time they would farm many different vegetables the fertile bogland hosted from onions to celery and many in between.  Trained in Europe as a welder in trade school he would develop custom made farm equipment for the area and across Canada and the US.  The keen mind of an engineer he developed equipment and systems saving farmers time and money.  He left farming to establish Sparenberg Manufacturing Ltd.  His equipment was of such quality and durability even as recent as last spring one of his Dutch sett seeders was still in circulation and sent to eastern Canada to plant garlic.


As farming changed in the area Dad slowed his manufacturing and worked as head of maintenance at the Pickling Onion Growers Association for 5 years. He enjoyed the camaraderie of his colleagues there. He was proud to have preserved the air control tower of the plant as the original air strip in Grand Bend.


His love of planes would lead him to building his Lazair Ultralight and develop the landing strip still in use today at his home on Goosemarsh Line.


Until well into their 80’s Mom and Dad could be found working on the farm for nephew Mark Srokosz.  Their acreage yard would be meticulously maintained with adoring comments from neighbors and an impeccably high standard to follow.


Gpa would enjoy cross country skiing, fishing, bicycling and watching karate, soccer and hockey games with his grandchildren.  He enjoyed his motorcycle until well into his 80’s a hobby he proudly shared with his sons and grandsons.


Dad was a man of unwavering discipline, perfection, loyalty, with a sharp engineering mind and ability to create, fix or improve all that he touched. He was the master of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. He was an amazing storyteller who shared great insight on a wide variety of topics and interests and life experiences. He served as a church elder for over 40 years and knelt twice a day to pray for his family, friends, neighbors and world.


Dad taught himself to play harmonica in the army and continued to entertain his church, family and friends until the end of his life.


With failing breath, he played his last stanza of his favorite song “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” on Friday March 1st.


His personhood has ever influenced our lives and we are forever grateful.


We would like to thank the remarkable angelic staff of North Lambton Lodge for their gracious loving care of Dad over the last 16 months.


In keeping with his love of service and deep respect for those who have defended our freedom, if desired, memorial donations (payable directly) to your local Royal Canadian Legion. 


At Alex’s request, cremation has taken place.  A Celebration of Alex’s Life will be held at the North Lambton Lodge Auditorium, 39 Morris St., Forest, on Saturday, April 27, 2024. Remembrance Service at 2 p.m Visitation and Open House continues until 4 p.m. Interment Pinery Cemetery at a later date.  Arrangements entrusted to the T. Harry Hoffman & Sons Funeral Home, Dashwood.  

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