Skip to content
For WHOI personnel, vendors, and visitors: COVID-19 Guidelines

William "Bill" Sparks The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of employee William F. “Bill” Sparks on March 21 at Beth Israel Hospital in Plymouth, Mass., after a long struggle with cancer. He was 72.

Bill was born January 1, 1947 in Cambridge, Mass., the son of William V. and Gloria M. Sparks.  Bill graduated from Hingham High School in 1964, the Franklin Institute of Boston in 1966, volunteered for the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany from 1966 to 1969.  Returning home, he married his childhood sweetheart Lauren Melanson in 1970 and settled in Norwell, Mass., where he served as a volunteer Firefighter and EMT. They would have celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary later this year.  Bill worked in the insurance industry while they raised four daughters, Kristin, Keri, Kendra, and Katie.

Bill began his career at WHOI in 1994 as a security guard. In 1998, he was promoted to night services supervisor. He retired and returned in 2017 as a senior security guard, casual status, until his death.

During his retirement he enjoyed volunteering and participating in local veterans organizations.

Bill is survived by his wife Lauren, four daughters: Kristin Gonsalves and her two children Mark and Katelyn of Falmouth, Mass; Keri Sanchez, her husband Carlos, and their two children Alex, and Gabe of Hopkinton, Mass; Kendra Friel, her husband Pete, and their three boys Gavin, Logan, and Ronan of Falmouth; Katie Sparks of Falmouth, and two brothers Robert Sparks of Edgartown, Mass; Thomas Sparks and his wife Joanne of Hopedale, Mass; and a sister, Joanne Sparks-Pessotti and her husband George of Nashua, NH; and his beloved canine companion Hunter.

Visiting hours will be Tuesday, March 26, from 4-7 p.m., at Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, 475 Main Street in Falmouth, followed by a Memorial Service at 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Disabled American Veterans.

Information for this obituary is from Chapman, Cole, and Gleason website.