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CAMBRIA—Christel U. Szopieray, age 66, of rural Cambria, died peacefully on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, at the Columbia Co. Health Care Center in Wyocena.

Christel was born at home, the only child to Florian and Ilse Ericka (Klossek) Szopieray on Aug. 15, 1953. She was a 1971 graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Milwaukee, and continued her education in Engineering at UW-Milwaukee with a BS in 1978, and Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1983, with an Associate Degree. She was employed at various companies, including Milwaukee International Congress, Milwaukee County as an industrial engineer, then in data processing, Goodwill Industries in Milwaukee and United Scale & Engineering. Christel was united in marriage to John Sparks on Dec. 2, 1989, in Milwaukee. In the early 2000’s, Christel and John moved to their home in rural Cambria. Christel will always be remembered as a philanthropist. Her love for humanity, animals and a better world could be witnessed every day. She, along with her husband John, donated to many communities, organizations and individuals. They gave of themselves their time, energy, items and monetary donations to anyone who was in need, asking of nothing in return. Christel had the ability to befriend anyone at any time, anywhere and could converse with them for hours. Christel’s beaming smile and sparkle in her eye will be missed by all who knew her.

Christel will be sadly missed and mourned by her husband, John Sparks of rural Cambria; granddaughter, Shelby Marie Sparks of Mayville; Shelby’s mother, Caryn Adam also of Mayville; her “adopted” daughters and “Besties”, Rachael Moon Taylor, June Witthun, Joanna Lessor and Karen Walters; other relatives and many friends.

Christel was preceded in death by her parents; and one grandson, Nathan Sparks; and her rescue dogs, Max, Tiger, Sasha and Bandit.

Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, at the Hughes Barn, W1441 Vaughn Rd., Cambria, with Rev. Kristin Frederich officiating. Relatives and friends may call on the family from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Hughes Barn. A fellowship luncheon will follow at 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed in Christel’s name to Jason Luther Fundraiser, c/o Sandy Luther, N4743 Lowville Rd, Rio 53960, or to the Living Hope Food Pantry, 103 W. Spring St., Fox Lake 53933.

The Kratz-Smedema Funeral Home in Cambria is serving the family. For more information or online condolences, please visit www.kratzfh.com.

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