Harold Albert Sparling, 74, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, passed away Monday, January 8, 2018, at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Harold was born May 28, 1943, in Mattoon, Illinois, the son of Albert and Ruby (Zike) Sparling. He married Huong Le Nguyen, July 4, 1970, in DaNang, Vietnam.
Harold served in the United States Army from 1963 to 1966. The time he served in Vietnam created a wanderlust that lasted his entire life. Soon after leaving the army, he worked for a military contractor that sent him to Singapore. He returned to the United States where he lived for a decade. Then in 1979, while employed with Beech Aerospace Services, he moved with his family to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then to Rota, Spain. While in Cuba he earned his private pilot’s license. By 1985, Harold moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he eventually settled and called home. His work still brought opportunities to travel when he was sent to Kenya for a brief period in 1992.
Upon retiring in 2008, Harold had more time to engage in his hobby of riding motorcycles. He participated in riding events that took him all over the country, including the Four Corners tour where he rode to Maine, Washington, California and Florida. What brought Harold the most joy, though, was volunteering with the Patriot Guard Riders.
Harold leaves two daughters, Mai Ly Sheets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Gwen Sparling and her husband Daniel Morgan of Atlanta, Georgia; two sisters, Marilyn White of Taylorville, Illinois, and Donna Lacy and her husband Lloyd of rural Neoga, Illinois; two brothers, Ronald Sparling and his wife Patricia of Westville, Illinois and Gary Sparling of Elroy, Wisconsin; five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Patriot Guard Riders.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 P.M., Sunday, January 14, 2018, at Swengel-O’Dell Funeral Home of Neoga, Illinois, with Rev. James Maroon officiating. Visitation will be held from 3:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M., Thursday, January 11, 2018, at Sullivan’s Highlands Funeral Service of Fayetteville, North Carolina and 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M., Saturday, January 13, 2018, at Swengal-O’Dell Funeral Home of Neoga. Burial will be at the Neoga Memorial Cemetery, Neoga, Illinois, with Military services conducted by the American Legion of Neoga, Illinois