The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbor

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

Meet Your Neighbor Fern Eileen (Welch) Sparrow born on September 20, 1925 and has lived all her life in Lomax.

She was born the only child of Dolly (Eckhardt) Welch and Clifford "Tommy" Welch, her mother was a housewife and her father worked at the airplane factory in Lomax where they made Air King planes. He also had been a chauffeur for Dr. Emerson, the town's doctor.

Fern had a half sister, Phyllis (Delmar) Pindell and a half brother, Roger (Jean) Gittings of Lomax, both deceased.

Fern's schooling through the 11th grade of high school was in Lomax. She took typing and shorthand and enjoyed chorus. Her class had 6 students and in Dallas City it tripled in size. Since there was no 12th grade in Lomax, students could choose between Dallas City and Terre Haute to finish their senior year. So, in 1942 she and her best friend (Valda McCannon who later married Dean Strand of La Harpe) chose Dallas City.

She took her senior class year in 11th grade in Lomax, so she and Valda had to finish their senior year at Dallas City with the Junior class taking classes.

She participated in the senior play and read the class will. After graduating in 1943 Fern went to work for the IAAP during the War II 1943-1945. She then was hired by W.A. Sheaffer Pen Company, in Fort Madison, IA where she worked in the office for 7 or 8 years. The company had over 2500 employees. They supported their own ball leagues, ball park, bowling league and bowling alley. Fern played softball for the office team. She was the pitcher and her uniform was a green and white shirt with "The Office" printed across the front and hot pink and white saddle shoes with jeans.

The newspaper accounts told how, "Fern Welch really whipped the ball around in the field". She was a good bowler as well and has a medal to show for it.

Fern dated Lloyd "Beryl" Sparrow (April 20, 1920) of Lomax. They both enjoyed roller skating and bowled with his sister and father-in-law and Jeanette Rogers in Ft. Madison, IA.

Soon they were married at the Nazarene Church (the old bank building) January 18, 1952, now owned by Bob Pflaster on .

After their marriage her father-in-law hired her to work at his factory, "The Lomax Tomato Company" (canning factory).

She was called the, "Boss Lady on the backporch' sorting tomatoes. It was a seasonal job working from August to frost. The plant opened in 1912 and closed in 1968. In 1952 the plant celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with a big bash in Lomax. Folks flew in to attend the event and they fed 300 people which were friends of the Sparrows, customers and brokers of the factory.

She and Beryl have 2 sons and 3 daughters. Carla Jean (Don) Williams. Don is employed at Pepsi and lives in Burlington, Iowa; Lloyd Sparrow manager at Goodyear Tire Warehouse in Ocala, Florida; Ann Eileen (Michael) Brooks lives in Ocala, FLorida.

Ann is a school bus driver and Michael is retied from the US Army and was deployed during Desert Storm; Martin (Tracy Scanlan), live in Dallas City.

They operate Scanlan and Sparrow Trucking; Byron Beryl (Jennifer), rural Stronghurst. Byron farms and works at the IAAP in the fire department.

She and Beryl are the grandparents of Adonica (Michael) Gould and Chastity (Sean) Aguliar, Lloyd "Lucas" and John Sparrow, Marc Sparrow, Billy and Danielle Sparrow (adopted), and foster son Monty, Kaitlin, Jacob and Mitchell Sparrow and 5 great-grandchildren, 3 girls and 2 boys.

Fern's activities included being a youth 4-H leader with Ruby Gittings and have performed at the state fair with their club; church member of the Nazarene Church until it closed in 2013; a member of the Henderson County Farm Bureau Extension, WIAA Council, bowled in the Henderson County Women's League, a member of the Republican Women's Club, baked and did knitting during the war.

They traveled extensively in Europe while their son-in-law, Michael Brooks was in the military to Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, Austerdam, Italy and others and then to Hawaii on a seed corn vacation.

In March she was a Avon consultant for 45 years. She was also an Lomax election judge and later a poll watcher for many years.

Fern is looking forward to two weddings in July and October of her granddaughters.

She and Beryl always look forward to the Sparrow Family Reunion at Crapo Park which is a 70 year tradition held every Fathers' Day.

Her philosophy is, "Stay Well!"