Obituary Listings


July 20, 1930 January 10, 2018
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Dorothy Belle Dickerson Sparkman was born on July 20, 1930 in Danville, Illinois to Wayne and Viola (Kendall) Cumbow as the oldest of 4 children. Her mother died at a very young age due to complications of brain tumor surgery and she was adopted by the sister of her first grade teacher. The parents she lovingly acquired were Herschel and Jean Dickerson. Dorothy passed away peacefully January 10, 2018.

She was raised as an only child as her adopted brother, Russell was 16 years older. She had the honor of being the junior majorette of the University parades. She was very proud to be the first runner up in the Kiwanis Miss Illinois contest and won the contest because of her baton skills. Dorothy went on to attend Stephens College in Columbia Mo with a 2 year Associate degree in dance.

It was in Columbia that she went on a blind date with her future husband, John Arthur Sparkman, who was obtaining his master degree in dairy science. The date was to be at an agriculture picnic in the country and she was only allowed to wear skirts and blouses at college. This wasn’t quite what she thought she should wear so she secretly put on a pair of slacks under her skirt and started taking off her skirt shortly after John picked her up. He said he thought he was going to wreck his car because he picked this girl he had never met before and she suddenly started stripping. This apparently left an impression on him as they married a couple of years later.

After college Dorothy danced in Chicago for a short time in a chorus line and later went back to start her own dance studio in Danville. John had recently taken a job as field-man for the American Milking Shorthorn Society and happened to be visiting a herd near her hometown. He decided to pay her a visit and the rest was history with them going on to enjoy 50 years of marriage with 4 children. Besides visiting every state in the union they traveled internationally and made many friends nationwide especially in the Milking Shorthorn breeders.

Dorothy was a stay at home mom which involved her serving as 4-H leader, helping with school parties and trips, PTA, church activities, and cheering on the children and eventually grand children at band, sports events and cattle shows.

She was preceded in death by her husband John, adopted and birth parents as well as her adopted brother Russel.

She is survived by daughter Sally Jean (Burd) (Dan) with children Sarah(Josh), Kerry (Charley), Ross, Susan and John ; son John (Cassie) with children Michael, Josie (Ben) and Shanna; son Don (Sheri) with children Christian (Kayla) and Patricia(Robert); son Glen with children Alaina(Richie) and Stephanie(Desmond) ,12 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren; sister Kathleen Massey, brothers John and Kenneth Cumbow, sisters-in-laws Sally, Burma Jean, Maebelle, and Mary .

Visitation will be from 1-2 pm Saturday, January 13, 2018 at the Meadors Funeral Homes in Republic, MO. Celebration of Dorothy’s life will follow at 2 pm. Burial will be in the Sparkman Family Plot in Evergreen Cemetery beside her husband. In lieu of flowers, family requests memorial to the First Christian Church of Republic, MO or charity of the donor’s choice. Family and friends may share online condolences at

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