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Posted on September 9, 2015 | 9:46 a.m.

Wilbert ‘Sparky’ Ware of Santa Barbara, 1921-2015

Source: Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels

Wilbert ‘Sparky’ Ware

Wilbert  “Sparky” Ware passed away peacefully at the age of 93, on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, at the Californian in Santa Barbara, California.

He was born in Beaumont, Texas, on Oct. 2, 1921, to Beatrice and Johnny Ware. He was raised and mentored in his formative years by his Grandpa and Grandma Ware, and gained his passion for cooking, hunting and fishing during his childhood in rural Texas.  

He loved cooking, especially Creole dishes that he learned from his grandma. She also taught him how to sew, while making quilts and school clothes.

He preferred time with her in the house, rather than working with his siblings in the cotton fields. His grandpa took him hunting and taught him to train hunting dogs, break and ride horses and shoot accurately.

When he was 14 years old, he moved to Houston, Texas, and started work as a cook, which became his passion and career path.

His grandmother’s training served him well as an adult, when he volunteered for the Army and worked as a cook with the construction battalion, serving in Burma and India during the Second World War.

He made some side money sewing on fellow officers’ stripes and ironing their uniforms. He called it “Boony Rue” when pants had the perfect crease.

After his military service, he moved to Santa Barbara, and cooked at his mother’s restaurant on Haley and Garden. He worked at The Blue Onion, currently IHOP, on State Street, as a short order cook. He also cooked at the Biltmore Hotel for many years.

In his spare time, he loved to hunt, reminiscent of his youth. He and his buddies hunted small and large game on Figueroa Mountain with Rambler, his favorite hunting dog.  

He was preceded in death by his wife and daughter many years ago, and most recently his girlfriend and companion, Miss Ellie Drew.

He is survived by his adopted family of 25 years, Derrick Curtis and Trudie Olsen-Curtis, who will miss his wisdom, his mentoring, his animated storytelling, his colorful sense of humor and his tenacity.  

A celebration of life will be held Friday, Sept. 11, at 9:30 a.m. at Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapel at 15 E. Sola St. in Santa Barbara.


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