On March 1, 2018, at 6:03 p.m. Theodore Clifford Sprinkle opened his eyes in Heaven free from the pain of cancer, the difficulties of pneumonia and the frustrations of a body that was simply giving out. He missed the IU-Rutgers game that was on later that night, fortunately because that would have killed him. We hope Billy Graham wasn't near him in Heaven when dad heard the score.
Ted was born Nov. 13, 1940, to John Ellsworth Sprinkle and Margaret C. Sprinkle at home in Cass County. We, his family who weren't around yet, suspect he had a youth filled with fun, shenanigans and general lawlessness. He attended Tipton Township School, where he played sports, talked to girls and learned to type. He helped out at his father's Sinclair gas station in Walton, where he first learned to play horseshoes. He hunted pheasants and rabbits, fished every creek, river and pond whether he was supposed to be there or not and practiced the art of feeling for snapping turtles in ditches and riverbanks. He was handsome and ornery and likeable.
Ted joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1959 and became an esteemed embassy guard in Greece, where he once met the blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield and has a photo of him with her. He served with honor and has been a proud Marine ever since. He married Sharlyn Sue Martin and had three sons, Kevin Duane Sprinkle, Christopher Jon Sprinkle and Terry Tyrone Wray. They also had a daughter, Amy Elizabeth Sprinkle.
Ted was an avid outdoorsman. He was an outstanding fisherman who caught huge bass, tons of bluegills as big as your hand and the occasional catfish. His favorite spots were Lake Cicott and the strip pits in and around Linton, Indiana. He was an expert with all baits, but to him nothing was better than the heart stopping blast on a buzz bait. He hunted birds with pointing dogs and rabbits with beagles. Some of his best friends walked on four paws and had burrs on them. He was a champion mushroom hunter (he has the trophies) and looked forward to the spring each year for this reason (and to start fishing.) He and his fishing buddy, Harold Hall, hauled a jonboat around long after most men their age even thought about it.
On Dec. 19, 2015 Ted was inducted in the Indiana State Horseshoe Pitchers Association Hall Of Fame, proof of his expertise and abilities. Pitching horseshoes was his favorite hobby, eventually taking the place of fishing. He has many friends all over the United States through his tournament experiences. He was a member of the elite Kokomo Barn pitchers and threw horseshoes two days before he passed. He was a 3x State Champion and was 4th in the World Championships. Today he is throwing double ringers in Heaven.
Ted's grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the joys of his life. He was a super fun papaw who was active, fun and loving. He was a great gift buyer for all the kids and could be counted on to supply weird gadgetry, tools, knives and fun stuff to the kids for birthdays, Christmases and for the heck of it. His house is filled with photos of all of these kids from birth until now. He loved his daughters-in-law, Kim and Susie, very much and they knew it. He also had many others who call him papaw who he gladly embraced. You didn't have to be blood to be a part of his family.
In 1999 Linda Mills became Ted's girlfriend, best friend and eventually his caretaker until the end. Linda continues to be a loved and valued member of his family. She is one of the main reasons he lasted two more years and the family is eternally grateful.
Ted was diagnosed with leukemia in February of 2016. He chose to do no active treatment for his cancer and simply live as long as he could as well as he could. After being given weeks to months to live he lasted just over two years, living life to the absolute fullest. He caught more fish, threw lots of ringers, watched the Cubs win the World Series and many more IU, Pacers, Colts and Cubs games. He grew more beautiful flowers. He laughed much in those two extra years, went to many birthday parties for grandchildren, had coffee with his friends, Harold and Pat, every morning and generally lived a rock star life. He rode a bicycle, travelled, hit a baseball and kept up with everyone on Facebook. Four days before he passed he walked on stilts for his great-grandchildren to prove that he could. In short, he chose life and lived it well.
Theodore was proceeded in death by his father, Jon Sprinkle; his mother, Margaret Sprinkle; a brother, Larry "Turtle" Sprinkle; a brother, Jack Sprinkle; a daughter, Amy Sprinkle; and a son Charlie McCoy.
He is lovingly survived by his sister, Janet Halgren and family, nieces and nephews; a son and daughter-in-law, Kim and Kevin Sprinkle; a son and daughter-in-law, Chris and Susie Sprinkle; Terry Wray, Jeff Kearnes and Sherry Nehl, who Ted loved as his own children; grandchildren, Candace Williamson, Cameron Sprinkle, Keenan Sprinkle, Josiah Sprinkle and Noah Sprinkle; and great-grandchildren, Jack Williamson, Sophia Williamson and Scarlett Sprinkle.
Ted embraced the philosophy "live like you are dying," despite never really thinking he was going to die. He lived life to the very fullest. He worked hard, played hard and loved hard. He lived and died on his own terms. He knew Jesus and trusted him in the end. He wasn't afraid to die and wasn't afraid to live. He will be greatly missed, yet his legacy of love and life will remain. A legacy is not what you leave behind but instead who you leave behind. He left many lives made better by knowing him.
Military honors will be offered at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at Morning Star Church, 2900 E. Markland Ave., Kokomo, followed by a memorial service celebrating Ted's life. Friends are invited to visit with the family from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at the church.
Ted's family is comforted knowing that they were able to have a wonderful relationship with their father. In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to take their loved ones to dinner and spend time together. Shirley & Stout Funeral Homes & Crematory is assisting the family with arrangements. Messages of condolence may be left online at www.shirleyandstout.com.
Published on March 3, 2018