Longtime Provincetown and Truro resident Gail A. Sparks died on Nov. 12, 2023 at Cape Cod Hospital. The former owner of Salt Air Cottages in Truro, she was able to spend the two days before her death with her family. The cause was respiratory failure. Gail was 83.
The fifth of eight children of Philip and Mary Packett, Gail was born in Provincetown on June 12, 1940. She graduated from Provincetown High School in 1958. Her ambition at that time, according to the Long Pointer, was “to work in Boston.”
Instead, she worked as a waitress in various Provincetown restaurants and met Airman Eugene Sparks, who was stationed at the base in Truro. The couple married in 1960. Gail picked up her driver’s and marriage licenses at the same time because, granddaughter Lacey Clark said, “She wanted to marry and to drive.”
Over the following eight years, Gail had four children and continued to work as a waitress. Then, in the early 1970s, she and Eugene bought Salt Air Cottages, which they operated together until 1982. They built their own house in Truro.
Eugene was an artist who painted Cape Cod seascapes in watercolors and oils; he also painted the mural at the back of St. Peter the Apostle Church, which was later destroyed in a fire. Gail was skilled in needlecraft. After they gave up their business, they organized their lives by participating in the craft fair circuit where Eugene sold his paintings and Gail sold hand-sewn American Girl doll clothes, which were wildly popular in the 1990s. They were active on the circuit into the 2000s.
After Eugene died in 2012, Gail pursued a hobby that, Lacey said, “amused the family quite a bit and continues to as they organize what she left behind.” That hobby was buying items advertised as “seen only on TV.”
“She bought them all,” Lacey said.
Gail continued to sew, knit, and bake, and she loved to babysit her grandchildren and great-grandchildren who would visit her on the Cape each summer. She always baked cookies for them, “different cookies for each child — something that they loved,” said Lacey. “And she always made chocolate cake for dessert.”
Gail is survived by her children, LeAnne Sparks-Pimental and Gary Pimental of Brewster, Olin Sparks and Lacey Vail of Eastham, and Sheva Russell-Browne and John Browne of Truro; grandchildren Nik and Shirley Pimental of Deerfield Beach, Fla., Lacey and Kameron Clark of Rosamond, Calif., Chelsea and Alan Dagesse of Franklin, Kaitlyn Russell of Newport, N.H., Jasmine Avallone-Osowski of Truro, Brandon Browne of Truro, Joseph Browne of Lebanon, Tenn., Corey Sparks of Eastham, and Clara Colley of Eastham; and great-grandchildren Peyton and Nathan Clark of Rosamond, Calif., Andrew and Michelle Pimental of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Juliette and Grace Dagesse of Franklin.
She was predeceased by her husband and her son Mims Sparks.
A private memorial is being planned for the family.
In lieu of flowers and of donations to any organization, the family asks that appreciation to Gail be shown by spending time with family and hugging loved ones.