I am running this Year of Memories to remember my Grandmother.
Julia Irene Thompson (1928-2010)
Julia Irene Thompson Sparks, lover of flowers and all things Furman and giver of herself, died Saturday (June 5) after a decade long battle with Alzheimer’s that stole her mind, but never her sweetness.
Julia was born Oct. 21, 1928, to Gilman F. and Lillie Cox Thompson in the first house ever built on Jones Avenue. She graduated from Greenville Senior High School in 1945 and immediately began working, first at the then-named Greenville Army Air Base, later Donaldson Air Force Base, which was partially built on land once owned by her Grandfather Cox.
She married George M. Sparks Jr. on June 9, 1950.
Her 39-year career at Furman began in 1954 on the old men’s campus in downtown Greenville, where she began as a cashier in the business office. She moved to the “new” campus in 1958. Three years later, she and George and daughter Margaret moved to Camelback Road, just outside Furman’s back gate. She lived there, or on adjacent Watkins Bridge Road, until 2003 when she moved to Rolling Green Village.
She was assistant personnel director at her retirement.
She was intensely proud of her association with Furman, supporting its academics and athletics. And there was never a question of where Margaret would attend college.
Julia loved the people and the place. She never tired or complained about going to work because Furman was part of her family. She was meticulous and detailed, and the entire Furman community knew and trusted that she would ensure their benefits and records were exactly as they should be.
Only one thing surpassed Furman in her eyes, well actually two: grandchildren Greg and Julia, her namesake. She reveled in their successes to the end.
Whether it was traveling to Atlanta or Dallas or Charleston, WV, to be with them – especially at Christmas – she was always at the ready until her deteriorating health brought them to her.
When she wasn’t doting on grandchildren or taking care of someone else, she was most likely to be found outside in her yard, keeping it as ordered and precise as the records she had kept at Furman – only more colorful.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband and one brother, Gilman F. “Gil” Thompson Jr.
She is survived by one daughter, Margaret Sparks Bolt, and her husband, John, of Morgantown, WV; grandson, Gregory Gilman Bolt and his wife, Heidi, of Redmond, OR; granddaughter Julia Elizabeth Bolt of Arlington, VA; great-granddaughter Sophia Ann Bolt of Redmond, OR; two sisters, Dorothy “Dot” Crawford of Greenville, and Frances Thompson of New York, NY; one brother, James “Jim” Thompson and his wife, Carolyn, of Greenville; and one sister-in-law, Emma Lee Hester of Henderson, NC.
written by John Bolt