Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00
I had known J. Fred Sparke for many years and had many interesting talks with him about Island Trees and the area surrounding this part of Long Island. He used to talk about how the area, which had started to overflow with new homes and people in the late 1940s, was at one time a true farm community.
The Sparke family had lived in this area of Island Trees for over 200 years, and had been farming the land these many years. J. Fred Sparke was the son of Henry Sparke, a founder of the Island Trees School District back in 1902.
J. Fred Sparke was a farmer in the true sense of the work and loved the soil He was a member of the Nassau County Farm Bureau and was a committeeman for the bureau for more than 20 years. He married the former Helen Graham and together they built their home on Seaman Neck Road. The original home still stands and is surrounded by many large trees, which he had planted at the time of his marriage.
He had a daughter, Helen, and two sons, Edgar and William. He also had four grandchildren. Helen marred into the Boos family and is the only child who is in the family business with her husband.
Back in 1912, Sparke was the collector of taxes for the school district and in 1915 he changed to the treasurer of the school district when the County of Nassau started to collect taxes for the various school districts. He had been the treasurer for 43 years until his death on May 9, 1955.
His interment in St. John of Jerusalem Cemetery on Wantagh Avenue, his last resting place, is within the area where he lived and worked all his life.
The school board in 1955, named the then new elementary school to be built on Robin Place near Condor Road in his honor. Today the J. Fred Sparke School stands as a memory to a man who had given much of himself to the school district as well as to the early days of farming in the community.
(Editor’s note: This biography was submitted by the Island Trees School District in response to Susan Reckling’s request for more information about J. Fred Sparke, which printed in the Friday, Sept. 6 edition of the Levittown Tribune. This biography was written on March 8, 1963 by an author of the first name, Lad. The last name is illegible in the copy obtained.)