Patricia Belle Sparlin Gronert Memorial Fund Details » Donate Online
Patricia Belle Sparlin Gronert, March 22, 1936 to October 31, 2012. She was born in Miles City, Montana; her mother and father owned and farmed wheat on a section of land a mile southwest of Brusett, MT. Pat’s maternal grandmother (Lay’s) was from Kirksville, MO (northeastern MO – northern influence) and traveled by wagon train at age 4 years to Virginia City in 1876 – the diary of this trip is in the library at Montana State University, Bozeman. The route followed the Iowa/Missouri border west, north to Council Bluffs and across the Missouri River on railroad flatbed cars, then followed the Platte River. Her father, Joseph Sparlin, was from southwestern MO, near Neosho (southern influence). There is a Sparlin family cemetery west of Neosho, just beyond the overhead railroad crossing. Bushwacking was a major problem and the Sparlins temporarily moved south to Arkansas to avoid this.
Pat’s father Joseph Sparlin died in the hospital at Warm Springs, MT when she was 2 years old and her mother finished her teaching degree to support them. She kept the ranch and shared farming wheat with the JE Stanton family. Pat and her mother and grandmother lived in Dillon for her degree, and then successively in Conrad, Powell WY, and finally Lewistown. At Powell, her mother taught art to the Japanese children at the Heart Mountain WY internment camp. She moved after 6 months – the people in Powell were unkind – "She teaches Japs” – and she moved to Lewistown.
Pat was a gifted soprano from age 12. After high school in Lewistown, she studied one year at the University of Montana, Missoula, and then nursing at Cook County Hospital in Chicago IL. In summer 1954, while on the obstetrics delivery ward, she met Gerald Gronert, a senior medical student working on the 3-11 shift as a nurse technician. The obstetrics ward delivered 50 babies every 24 hour period in 4 delivery rooms. Pat and ger became engaged in about 3 weeks and were married by Rev. John Aye Ross on December 26, 1957 at the Methodist Church on the southwest corner of Ashland and Harrison. The church is long gone. They lived in a one room apartment at Mr. Allen’s Apartments, then on the northwest corner of Damen and the rapid transit tracks.
After graduation in 1958, they moved to St. Louis for ger’s internship at the City Hospital; Pat worked in pediatrics. They lived in the Pruitt-Igoe Housing project that was torn down in 1972. Their apartment was on the 9th floor; the elevator stopped at 1, 5, and 8, so moving in and out was a challenge. Brian Joseph Gronert was born at City Hospital March 8, 1959.
In summer 1959 they moved to Denver for 2 years’ residency and 5 years’ private practice in anesthesia. The pediatric rotation was at LA Children’s Hospital, Sept through Dec 1960. Pat and ger drove in their Plymouth station wagon, and camped along the way, above the Toroweap Overlook on the North Rim and on the beach at Lake Mead. Nancy Ellen Gronert was born at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital November 3, 1960 (indigent care for resident’s families).
They returned to Denver and Pat had Gail Ann December 1, 1963, and Mary Elizabeth May 21, 1965. They moved to Rochester MN in summer 1966. Ger was drafted in 1967 and they had 2 years in San Antonio. Pat’s interest in horses there led to buying Charley (Tennessee Walker for ger) and Bingo for her. They returned to Rochester and she selected a 23 acre farm south of Pine Island for our home. In time she had 11 horses and ponies, a great time. Pat traveled by bus (limited parking) to Minneapolis to achieve a Bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin at the University of Minnesota. In 1986, we left MN for Davis CA, and Pat selected a wonderful home with 6 acres pasture between Davis and Woodland for her horses and cats.
Upon ger’s retirement in 1999, we moved to Albuquerque, with cats at home and 2 horses, Sam and Cash, boarded at Emile Gonzales’ stable. Pat loved her cactus garden, walking the ditch trails, and the overall Albuquerque environment.
She had a heart attack in September 2012, with damage to the septum between left and right ventricles. Despite surgery, her lungs were unable to recover from excessive blood flow and pressure; this was due to 2 other openings that recently occurred between left and right ventricles. She died after 54 hospital days.
Written by Patricia's Husband Gerald Gronert, MD, MHAUS Professional Advisory Council