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Obituaries

Marilyn Sparks, ’52

Marilyn McMillan Sparks, ’52, assistant librarian at Whitman College, died October 1, 2001, in Walla Walla. An English major who later earned an M.A. in information science at the University of Washington, Sparks served the Whitman library for more than 50 years in all.

She was first employed as a student in 1948, continuing her job after graduation until her marriage to George Sparks in 1956. She worked at the public library in Richland, Washington, and in 1971, after her husband’s death, returned to Whitman to serve as assistant librarian.

When she retired in 1997, Sparks was awarded the title of assistant librarian emeritus. After retirement, she continued helping at the library as a volunteer for the Northwest Archives. She also used her skills on behalf of the Walla Walla Symphony, Kirkman House, and other local agencies. She was a member of professional library associations and served on the Washington Advisory Council on Libraries Task Force on Library Service.

Memorials may be sent to the Marilyn Sparks Endowment Fund at Whitman College.

Bert Edwards, ’36

Bert Edwards, ’36, a trustee emeritus of Whitman College, died October 29, 2001, in Walla Walla. A Walla Walla businessman, Edwards began a 30-year career with Sherwood and Roberts in 1937, rising to the position of executive vice president. From 1967 until retirement he worked for First Federal Savings and Loan Association as executive vice president.

Edwards was named an overseer of Whitman College in 1963 and served as chair of the board. He was elected to the board of trustees in 1976. He chaired search committees for two presidents and helped spearhead major fund-raising efforts including the Cordiner Hall fund drive and the Campaign for Whitman in the early 1980s. In 1997 he received the Alumni Association’s Gordon Scribner Award for Distinguished Service.

Since 1939, Edwards also advised the Whitman chapter of Sigma Chi, receiving the fraternity’s national Order of Constantine, its highest award for service, in 1984. Active as a Walla Walla volunteer, over the years he helped chair more than a dozen United Way campaigns and served 25 years on the YMCA board.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia. Family members who have attended Whitman include his son Jock Edwards, ’66, and grandchildren Brooke Edwards, ’94, Brittany Smith Lackey, ’95, Jon Edwards, ’95, Katherine Lethenstrom, ’97, Emily Lethenstrom, ’98, and Ian Edwards, ’03.