Tonya Lee Sparkes - age: 46
(November 08, 1963 to November 11, 2009 )
Resident of Ukiah, California
Tonya Sparkes passed away on November 11, 2009 at her home in Ukiah, California at the age of 45. Tonya was born on December 8, 1963 in Santa Rosa, CA.
She leaves behind her loving mother Susan Newby and step-father Gary Newby of Ukiah; father Carl Sparkes of Plains, Montana; sister Jennifer Barbee and husband Chuck Barbee of Eureka, and their children: Christine Barbee Salmon and husband Matt Salmon, Will Barbee, and Ashlynn Barbee all of Eureka; brother John Sparkes and wife Sarah Biancalana, and their son Phillip Sparkes of Lakeport. Tonya also leaves behind numerous family members, friends, colleagues, and students.
Tonya was the oldest of three children and lived in Ukiah her entire life. Her love for her family, friends and teaching was evident through everything she did. Tonya's absolute favorite place to be was with her family especially on the holidays. She enjoyed organizing family reunions and planning parties, showers, etc. for her family and friends. She loved to give gifts and spend time with loved ones as much as possible. Her true love though was her dog of 14 years, Eddie, Charlie Brown Peanuts, and the San Francisco Giants.
Tonya graduated from Ukiah High in 1982 and started attending California State University, Chico the following fall. She graduated in 1986 with a B.A. in English and immediately started her student teaching at Ukiah High School. In September of 1987 she started her lifelong career as a full time faculty member at the high school. Throughout her twenty-two years she was Teacher/Advisor of the English and Fine Arts Department where she taught all grades and levels composition and American literature courses. She was also advisor to the school newspaper and coached girls basketball and softball for the high school. Tonya also attended Humboldt State University and received her M.A. in Teaching Writing in 1995. In the spring of 1995 she worked as an English Instructor at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California and the following summer at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. Tonya extended her teaching talents to Mendocino College teaching English.
Tonya received numerous awards and certifications throughout her life, most impressive being: CTAP Technology in the Classroom training, 2003-2005; MESA Honored Educator (Ukiah Unified), 2002; SDAIE certification, 2002; and Distinguished Educator of the Year (Ukiah High School) 1992, 1998.
A celebration of Tonya's life will be held for her at the Ukiah High School gymnasium on Saturday, November 21, 2009 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to: Ukiah High Faculty Association Scholarship Fund 1000 Low Gap Rd. Ukiah, CA 95482.
The family is looking forward to joining all who loved Tonya and were touched by her in some way, by celebrating her life together. They would also like to thank everyone who has sent encouraging cards, flowers, and gifts to the family in our time of grief. We are all looking forward to seeing her smiling face again someday and live on through her memory everyday. Go Giants!