George Elwood "Woody" Sparrow

March 18, 1944January 4, 2013

SPARROW, George Elwood “Woody” (Former Teacher and Department Head at Sir Oliver Mowat Collegiate in Scarborough) Passed away suddenly at his home on Friday, January 4th, 2013 in his 69th year. Loving father of Jen McFarlane (Mike) and the late Graham Sparrow. Proud Papa of Ella. Leaves behind his sister, Florene Sparrow, and niece Debbi. Great uncle to nephews Jamie and Joey. Visitation will be held at OSHAWA FUNERAL HOME, 847 King St. West (905-721-1234) on Tuesday, January 8th from 7 – 9 p.m. and Wednesday, January 9th from 10:00 a.m. until time of service in the Chapel at 11:00 a.m. Interment Thornton Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

"I had a lot of dreams once. Most of them never came true, but I’m still glad I had them."


  • Visitation Tuesday, January 8, 2013
  • Visitation Wednesday, January 9, 2013
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, January 9, 2013

George Elwood "Woody" Sparrow

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Lorraine Beaumont Harrison

November 7, 2017

I realize that Woody has been gone now for almost 5 years but unfortunately I did not know that this page existed at the time and that it is still open today. I met Woody when I was in Gr. 10 and he was in Gr. 13. It was at Northview Hts. and the first dance of the season. We danced for most of the night and the next week he asked me out on my first 'real' date. We had so much fun together and grew together into a steady relationship which lasted for about 16 months. We loved each other as much as two teenagers can love each other. He was a wonderful person and boyfriend and was kind to me and my family. He was loved by my large family and I think he enjoyed the noisiness and busyness of them. I think if Woody and I had met when we were in our twenties we would have married for sure but we were too young and fate just didn't have that in store for us. After we both married other people many years passed until one day in about 1980 I got a phone call from him on my birthday. He said never a January went by that he didn't think of me on my birthday - truth is I was the same with his March birthday. There are too many memories to itemize here but just wanted to say something about my first love and a wonderful man. Rest in peace, Woody.

Murray Major

February 5, 2014

This is a "minor correction" to the note I sent out on Feb. 26, 2013 :

The retirement party of mine, which Woody attended, was in May of 2005, not 1995 as indicated on my original note.

Although it was 16 years after I had left his department at Mowat, he was able to distinctly remember, in his speech that evening, an article that I had published in the Ontario Math Gazette back in 1976. I remember him saying that he "still had 37 copies of this magazine, in case any one would be interested in taking it home." That was a typical "Woodyism" :)

March 13, 2013

my name is Florene, I am Woody`s older sister. I want to thank all of you who have left us beautifl comments in Woody`s
memorial Book. My family continue to miss him. He was such a talented man & a wonderful brother. He was so dedicated to his friends & students. He loved each one of you.
I miss him more every day, but I know his spirit lives with me & knows how much I loved him. God Bless You & grant you peace. Love you Woody, Florene

Florene Sparrow

March 13, 2013

My brother Woody hAS BEEN GONE FOR 3 MONTHS NOW. I continue to miss him more &more every day. I know his spirit lives with me & will continue to help me through difficult times & good times. I will always thank God for giving me such a special little brother. I love you Woody. Florene

Murray Major

February 27, 2013

I was very shocked to hear, from a mutual friend (Paul Zolis) about Woody's passing today.

Woody hired me for my first teaching job in 1976, and I spent the next 13 years of my career working and learning in his math department at Mowat.

Reading the other entries in this guest book is like a trip down "memory lane" for me, as I'm sure that it is for many others.

I have so many wonderful memories of this man. He loved listening to me telling a joke; I think that his favourite part of it was watching me laugh before I could get the punch line out.

In 1980, I showed him some pictures that my wife and I took during a summer trip to PEI. He asked if he could borrow one of them in particular.
He returned this picture to me inside a custom made wood frame that he made in his home workshop. I still have this treasure.

In 1987, I can still see the pride in his face as he observes me overseeing the programming of the OAME annual conference in Scarborough.

In 1995, he came to my retirement party, and delivered a wonderful, heartfelt speech which was nicely captured on video.

The first few years of my long teaching career (I am still, today, doing some part time teaching) were spent in Woody's department along with such incredible people as Paul Browne, Lynda Colgan, Lynda Elgar, Mary Beth Macdonald, Barb Martin, and John Ketelaars, to name just a few members of this incredible collection.

Woody Sparrow was a man who made the most of every minute of every day in the best possible way, and the many tributes in this Guest Book are a real testament to this. I hope that they serve as a real source of comfort for all of his family.

Paul Browne

February 2, 2013

Firstly, I must say that my thoughts and prayers are with Woody's family. Secondly, I can't imagine the world without this special man. When I first met Woody as a young teacher at Mowat back in 1979, I didn't know what to think. He was so full of energy, ideas and care for the students. I used to get dizzy just watching him. He hardly ever took time for himself. He had the whole 'computer in the classroom' thing worked out about ten years before it became popular board wide. He was an innovator and I can't begin to say how much I learned from him. The good Lord has taken him for a reason and I can only imagine the great work he will continue to do ad infinitum. I will miss you pal. Paul Browne(36 years a teacher and largely due to Woody)

Rosana Faoro

January 24, 2013

Our sympathies are with you all at this time of loss and grief. Donald Proulx and myself, Rosana Faoro, attended Mowatt from 1974 and 1977 respectively. May you rest in peace Mr. Sparrow.

Camilla Rayman Bricknell

January 22, 2013

I am deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Sparrow's passing and send my most sincere condolences to his family. I had Mr. Sparrow for Calculus at Mowat in 1989-80 and he was an inspiration - as a teacher and as a caring individual. I truly appreciated how he pushed me to do my best and not to "coast" along in his course.

I am now a high school Math (and Music) teacher. Mr. Sparrow's sense of humour and ready smile is something I have carried into my own teaching career.

As shown by all these tributes, Mr. Sparrow's legacy will live on.

Lynda Colgan

January 16, 2013

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."

The life and experience of an individual is reflected in the experiences of those he knew and cared for, or who knew and cared for him.

Mizpah, my friend.

Alison Longhorn

January 14, 2013

My sincere condolences to Mr. Sparrow's family for your loss. I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing. I had the pleasure of having Mr. Sparrow as a math teacher in high school, and I always had tremendous respect for him. Math was always easy for me, usually to the point of being boring, and coming up with new and creative reasons to skip class was not uncommon. Mr. Sparrow would have none of that...he often challenged me with extra work through the year, or had me help other students during class. He was one of the few teachers who taught me to give back and be accountable for my actions, but always with a caring and respectful approach. I went on to tutor and then teach undergraduate statistics while working on my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and was often reminded of his teaching methods during that time. He was one of the few who taught me that you never stop learning, even if you happen to know the answer to the question!