Hazel V. Sparks, a Harford County dairy farmer and real estate developer, died Wednesday of complications from a stroke at St. Joseph Medical Center. She was 89.
Along with her husband, Mrs. Sparks ran their family dairy farm for more than 35 years. She also worked as a real estate broker and developed 100 acres of the family's land to build the High Point Estates subdivision in Forest Hill.
Mrs. Sparks was born Hazel V. Waddell in Ceres, a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. In 1935, she married Buera Akers Sparks.
"Times were very hard," said a daughter, Norma G. Guercio of Fallston. "My father worked in a logging camp, and they lived in a railroad car. They were very poor."
Looking for a better life, the couple moved to Harford County and rented land to farm. In the mid-1940s, they bought their own parcel and started a dairy farm.
When her husband became too ill to help run the farm, Mrs. Sparks rented land to other farmers and became a real estate broker to earn additional income for her family. Her husband died in 1977.
Mrs. Sparks spent most of her spare time with her family and recently postponed a surgery so she could attend a grandson's annual Memorial Day party. "She was always there for her family," said Mrs. Guercio.
She recently received the Harford County Living Treasure award.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at McComas Funeral Home in Bel Air.
Also surviving are three other daughters, Linda S. Kelly of Forest Hill, Claudia A. Sparks of Bel Air and Mary K. Morin of Port Orange, Fla.; a stepson, N. Roger Sparks of Jacksonville, Fla.; a brother, Andrew C. Waddell of Dublin in Harford County; 10 grandchildren; and a number of great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.