Gardening 06

Diana Elaine (Sparks) Winters

October 13, 1948 ~ July 10, 2020 (age 71)


Diana Winters, 71

Diana Elaine Winters valued family and friends above all earthly things. Even on the worst of days, just a few minutes with one of her grandchildren would bring an hours-long smile to her face. She taught her children to be kind to everyone, regardless of differences, and she always prioritized other people’s needs before her own.

Her love of Christmas was absolutely infectious. Although she and her husband had a passion for moving every few years, Diana never failed to turn their newest house into a welcoming home. But it wasn’t the color scheme she chose for the walls or all of the pillows she placed on each bed (and goodness, there were many!) – it was as though she embodied the very concept of home and it followed wherever she went. 

She was born in Peru, Indiana on October 13, 1948 to Rev. Cannus Sparks and Dorothy Maureen (Lowe) Sparks. She passed away on July 10, 2020 after accomplishing a seemingly impossible task: she underwent months of evaluations in the middle of a global pandemic and successfully made the organ transplant list at 71. This isn’t an easy process even in the best of circumstances but she had one motivating force: “I want to see my grandchildren grow up.”

She married Gene Leroy Winters on September 9, 1967 and they had three children: Angela, Jeremy and Tiffany. She helped anchor them to the earth, and they feel lost without her.

Diana worked many jobs over the years, and she brought the same level of enthusiasm and integrity to every single one. She was a school bus driver (North Miami), a switchboard operator and admissions clerk (Dukes Memorial Hospital) and an administrative assistant for many local physicians over the years. She was also an entrepreneur. Together with her husband, she owned and operated one of the area’s first paintball fields as well as a tea house. Last and certainly not least: Diana was a caregiver and dedicated the last few years of her life to caring for her father, mother and husband.

Diana enjoyed gardening, going on drives, playing the piano, dominating at Bananagrams, watching movies, listening to music and making floral arrangements. She cherished visits with her children and grandchildren as well as Michael Swihart (son-in-law), Edesio Sánchez-Gómez (son-in-law) and Mary (Spencer) Winters (daughter-in-law). She loved her siblings, Deborah Ellen (Sparks) Bowman and “Bud” Cannus Clayborn Sparks – as well as their spouses (Samuel and Lesley) – beyond words. She adored her nieces and nephews and extended family, as well as her husband’s family. Diana treasured her lifelong friendships and appreciated every opportunity they had to laugh together.

Diana leaves behind eight grandchildren: Nathanial (18), Gabriel (13), Elijah (12), Noah (12), Jillian (10), Aubrey (10), Clementine (4) and Elliott (1) as well as nine step-grandchildren she loved like her own. She was preceded in death by her father as well as her husband. Her mother survives.

Diana was uncommonly selfless and she carried that spirit with her even into her final moments.

A celebration of Diana’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the family via Flowers-Leedy Funeral Home to offset her final arrangements.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Flowers-Leedy Funeral Home. Family and friends may sign the online guestbook at

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