Flora Jean Sparrell passed away peacefully in her home in Holliston, Massachusetts on September 18, 2022, after an illness of a few months. She was born on January 24, 1930 in Norwood, Massachusetts. The daughter of Alma Clapp White and Percy White, she grew up in Medway. Her mother had been a high school mathematics teacher before starting her family, and her father worked for the U.S. postal service and the Veterans Administration. One of seven children, Flora enjoyed tending the vegetable garden with her father and spending time with her sisters and brothers. She was devoted to helping care for her younger brother David, who was born with Down’s syndrome, and remained devoted to him throughout his life.
Flora graduated from Medway High School in 1947. It was in high school that her passion for art was born. She attended Massachusetts College of Art and completed her B.A. in Fine Arts in 1951. An advocate for the power of art to open people’s eyes to the beauty of the world around them, Flora was an accomplished painter of landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. She exhibited her work at the Medway and Holliston libraries, Mass Bay Community College, and Premier Image Gallery. She sold her work to private collectors and completed many commissioned works.
Flora was married to A. Howard Sparrell in 1951. They were married for 55 years and lived in Holliston throughout that time. Howard predeceased her in 2007. Flora continued to live independently in the family home until her death at the age of 92, connected to a wealth of friends and family of all ages.
Among Flora’s favorite artistic subjects were the flowers in her garden and the floral arrangements friends brought her. In her eighties and nineties, she gave art lessons in her home and taught at the Senior Center in Holliston. Neighborhood children often stopped by to paint with her in her studio. She sold greetings cards of her artwork at Fiske’s in Holliston, where she restocked the selection of her cards just months before her death.
In addition to her work as an artist, Flora taught in a nursery school for many years. She shared her enthusiasm for birds, animals, and nature with the children she taught and was known for her fun and creative projects, like finger painting with chocolate pudding. At home, she cultivated a love of art and nature in her sons, Danny and Jim.
While in college, Flora joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and became a devout Christian. Her faith was a shaping and sustaining force throughout her life. For the last several decades, she was a member of the Medway Community Church, participating in many aspects of community life there. A beloved matriarch of the church, she was an inspiration to many in her strong faith.
At the age of 79, Flora left the United States for the first time on a mission trip to northern Thailand, where she taught art classes at a missionary school. Among the highlights of this trip, she loved telling stories about how gracious the Thai people were to her, how spicy their food was, and how thrilling it was to ride an elephant.
Flora was known for her gentle warmth, kindness, and welcoming spirit. She was blessed with many friends in her church family and neighborhood, and sustained by their love and frequent visits.
Flora was predeceased by her sisters, Phyllis McDonnell and Pat Wright, and her brothers, Ray and David White. She is survived by her sisters, Iris Beauregard and Joanne Roberts of Florida; her son Danny Sparrell and daughter-in-law Marijane Madigan of Stevensville, MD; her son James Sparrell and daughter-in-law Katherine Towler of Portsmouth, NH; and her grandson Benjamin Sparrell, his wife Rebecca Sparrell, and her great-grandson Harrison Sparrell of Holliston, MA. She is survived as well by many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at Medway Community Church on October 1, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be private.
To attend Flora's service remotely, please activate the link below on October 1st at 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
Massachusetts Audubon Society
208 S Great Rd
Lincoln MA 01773
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
130 Essex St.
South Hamilton, MA 01982
Arrangements under the care of Badger Funeral Home, A Life Celebration Home, Littleton 347 King Street 978-486-3709.