Memorable Manitobans: Clarence Coates Sparling (1900-1984)
Born at Portage la Prairie on 28 April 1900, son of Edwin James Sparling (1863-1935) and Maude Louise Coates (1869-1947), brother of Harvey Dennis Sparling, he attended the Portage Collegiate Institute then the Manitoba Law School, graduating in law in 1922. After articling with Fawcett Gowler Taylor, he practiced law in Portage la Prairie, Oakville, and Flin Flon, and was made a King’s Counsel in January 1937.
He served with the First Manitoba Mounted Rifles from 1926 to 1939. At the beginning of the Second World War, he assisted in the formation of the first British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Schools in Canada. From 1940 to 1945 he served with the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada, UK, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. He was mentioned in Despatches by the King.
In 1945 he was appointed Police Magistrate and Juvenile Court Judge serving Flin Flon and Winnipeg for 31 years. He was Senior Judge of the Winnipeg Family Court from 1965 to 1978. He also served as Coroner for Northern Manitoba, Flin Flon, and northern Saskatchewan.
He was married twice, first on 24 June 1924 to Gernith Bradley (1902-1978) at Portage la Prairie with whom he had two children: Edwin “Ted” Sparling (husband of Eleanor Mary ?) and Patricia Louise Sparling (wife of Alexander MacPherson). His second wife was Pauline ?. While in Flin Flon, he served on the school board and the city council, and President of the Rotary Club. At Winnipeg he was a member of the Winnipeg Rotary Club and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He was a member of the IOOF (Grand Master), Portage Curling Club (President), Oakville Curling Club (President), Flin Flon Curling Club (President), Oakville Conservation Association (President), Portage Conservative Association (President), Flin Flon Conservative Association (President), Masons, Canukeena Club, Winnipeg Fellowship Club, and Westminster United Church. He was President of the Royal Canadian Legion (1962-1964) and a founding board member for the Manitoba Centennial Corporation (1963).
In recognition of his community service, he was inducted into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt (1964) and he received a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977).
He died at Portage la Prairie on 11 April 1984 and was buried in the Hillside Cemetery.
Marriage registration [Clarence Coates Sparling, Gernith Bradley], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Sparling named juvenile judge,” Winnipeg Free Press, 27 August 1960.
“Giant team to plan for centennial,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1963, page 3.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 12 April 1984, page 95.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Chris Sparling for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 10 January 2023