Assistant to Nevada governors dies in Carson City |

Assistant to Nevada governors dies in Carson City

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

A former assistant to three Nevada governors and founder of the Carson City Library Foundation died suddenly last week following emergency open-heart surgery.

“It was just a surprise and a shock,” said John Sparbel’s wife of 41 years, Connie, who was at his bedside on Oct. 30 when he died. “He was in fine health up until that point. But he checked himself into the hospital because he was having chest pains. They did open-heart surgery, and a week and a half later, he just scrunched up his face and died.”

Connie said Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center staff worked on her husband for three hours in a failed attempt to save his life.

Sparbel, 68, lived in Nevada for 39 years.

He worked as an assistant for the entire terms to governors Paul Laxalt, Michael O’Callaghan and Robert List.

But it was his love of books that moved him to spearhead the Carson City Library Foundation in 1986, Connie said.

“He was just an absolutely, avid lover of libraries and reading of all kinds,” she said, explaining her husband shied away from seeking public office because he had his fill of politics working for the governors.

Sparbel did serve as vice chairman of the Library Board of Trustees and as chairman of the Carson City Library Board.

After his and Connie’s retirements from state employment, Sparbel, who had been a photographer since age 9, took up digital photography and taught classes on the subject in Nevada and at the couple’s winter home in Arizona.

Connie is the former owner of a travel agency, Classic Travel.

An obituary in Friday’s paper will have information on the service and burial.