Burton Sparer Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Burton Sparer

April 16, 1925 - December 23, 2011
Obituary

Obituary – Burt Sparer Burt Sparer died on December 23 in Athens after a long life as a much loved husband, father, friend, and dynamic force for making the Athens he cared about a better place. A memorial service will be held Thursday, January 5, 2pm, at Congregation Children of Israel. He was a tall, charming, likeable, 86-year-old man with a shock of white hair, an affirmative personality, and a big smile. He loved to play tennis, play the harmonica, ride his Honda Gold Wing, and read books and news on his computer. He put his long arms and legs to work for the University of North Carolina varsity swim team. Born and raised in New...
Obituary – Burt Sparer

Burt Sparer died on December 23 in Athens after a long life as a much loved husband, father, friend, and dynamic force for making the Athens he cared about a better place. A memorial service will be held Thursday, January 5, 2pm, at Congregation Children of Israel.
He was a tall, charming, likeable, 86-year-old man with a shock of white hair, an affirmative personality, and a big smile. He loved to play tennis, play the harmonica, ride his Honda Gold Wing, and read books and news on his computer. He put his long arms and legs to work for the University of North Carolina varsity swim team.
Born and raised in New York City, he served in the Army Air Force in Guam and Japan in World War II.
A Master's in Regional Planning from UNC prepared him for a career in every facet of city and regional planning, from helping plan the proposed port city of Santo Tomas in Guatemala to launching and leading the 9-county Northeast Georgia Regional Commission.
For 15 years Burt toured the state on his Honda touring bike for the University's Institutes of Government and Community and Area Development, in his role as planning advisor to Georgia's city and county governments. (Colleagues dubbed him Medieval Knievel.) He retired in 1985 to start his second and favorite career as volunteer planner and community activist.
He was director, Board member, or foot soldier for so many local causes and organizations. Burt revived a dormant Mental Health Association adding needed members and dollars; helped create Georgia Options, a groundbreaking program for the severely handicapped; put new life into the League of Women Voters (was the first man asked to join); and doubled the membership and clout of the Federation of Neighborhood Associations. The list goes on.
A lifetime member of Congregation Children of Israel, Burt served as president and recorded 40 oral histories of congregation members that are archived in the UGA Library.
Burt fought to protect green space and to save neighborhoods from big box stores. His advocacy resulted in the building of a neighborhood school and a park. He was honored by many awards, including a lifetime achievement award for his volunteer efforts by the Junior League. A trophy for his work in mental health sums it up: "he made a difference."
He is survived by his wife, Dot (Dorothy) Sparer of Athens; daughter Lisa Sparer and son David Sparer of Atlanta; sister-in-law Tanya Sparer of New York City; niece Ellen Sparer and family of Paris, France; nephew Michael Sparer and family of Woodstock, New York; and niece Carol Sparer-Zieve and family of Seattle.
If you care to honor his memory with a gift, please consider contributing to a cause that benefits Athens, the city he loved.
On line condolences may be made at www.bernsteinfuneralhome.com.
Bernstein's Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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