Albert Bailey Sparks, the scion of the Malden-based department store chain Sparks Department Stores, passed away on June 20, 2020, at the age of 93.
Mr. Sparks, along with his brother and long-term business partner George Sparks, expanded their mother and father’s dry goods store to seven department stores located throughout New England. He and his family members were early pioneers in the discount department store world, and Sparks was a mainstay of Malden until its closing in 2014. The store was part of downtown Malden life for 94 years.
Albert was a devoted husband to his wife Myrna Ellen Sparks for over 65 years, who passed away in 2018. He is survived by his four daughters and sons-in-law Lorri and Dr. George Kleiner, Joan and Richard Kessel, Debra and Douglas Stevens, and Amy and Bill Kremer, in addition to his grandchildren Jeffrey and Brooke Kessel, Bradley and Rebecca Kessel, and Rachel Moran and Mathew Moran, and his great-grandson Noah Kessel.
Albert was born on April 5, 1927 in Malden to Rose and David Sparks. His father was an immigrant from the small village of Hoshcha, in Western Ukraine. Albert was the last survivor of his siblings May, George, and Harold. He loved his siblings dearly.
Mr. Sparks always had a special place in his heart for downtown Malden. He was an active member of the Rotary, and in 2012 the Malden Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of service to the City of Malden. He was also a 69-year Masonic member of the Converse Lodge in Melrose and received a 50-year veteran’s level award in 2000.
In 2017, he and his wife Myrna were honored for being members of Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead for 50 years.
Albert served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, and later graduated Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He was an avid golfer and a former member of Kernwood Country Club in Salem and Boca West Country Club in Florida.
He was a man of principle and ethics, known for his kindness, generosity, and love of family and friends. He was respected and loved by many, and his wife and four daughters were devoted to him.
His funeral will be private; however, a public memorial service will be announced at a future date, post COVID-19 restrictions. Donations in Albert’s memory may be made to Temple Emanu-El in Marblehead, or Rotary Club of Malden’s Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 625, Malden, MA 02148. Arrangements were handled by Goldman Funeral Chapel, Malden. For online condolences, visit goldmanfc.com.