Noel Colette Sparks loved country music. And a favorite venue to hear country, and do a little line-dancing, was Country Night at the Borderline Bar & Grill. Noel’s Facebook is filled with posts inviting friends to join her there. She’d attended the Halloween event.
But she loved house and electronic dance music too. In fact, it seems that Noel adored dancing.
Noel played the cello, was a devout Christian, an animal lover, and a likely inspiration to others given her proclivity for sharing mostly inspirational posts on her social networking sites.
She was just 21 when she was gunned down in the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks just before midnight Wednesday. She celebrated her 21st birthday just two months ago.
Her mother Wendy Anderson’s first-ever Facebook post honored her daughter’s 1997 birth.
Suspect Ian David Long, 28, is alleged to have killed 12 people, many college-age, in the attack on the bar he himself frequented. Police have not identified a motive. Long, who lived with his mother Colleen Long, was a U.S. Marine who served in Afghanistan and was reported to have had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s reported after his assault on the bar filled with teens, he turned his legally obtained .45-caliber Glock on himself.
Noel did not survive his alleged carnage.
Here’s what you need to know about Noel:
Noel Was Born & Raised in Thousand Oaks & Was a Student at Moorpark College
A former elementary school teacher recalled Noel as an “angel.”
“It is with a heavy heart tonight that I have learned of Noel’s passing. I was her teacher at Ladera Elementary School. She was always an angel in class, to her classmates and her family. Noel and I spent much time together reading and doing math. She is a beautiful girl and with wonderful soul. You and your family are always with me. I shall pray for you and your family every day. Love you! XO,” posted Anne Hendrix Oppenheim.
Noel was a student at Moorpark College. Thursday Andrew Lopez, President of Moorpark College Associated Students issued a statement.
“My heart goes out to all the victims and their loved ones. I hear about these sort of tragedies on the news but I never imagined one to happen in our community. It is an extremely hard time for everyone and we feel a sense of helplessness on campus. I think this vigil is very important to not only honor and remember the victims and heroes of the Borderline shooting, but also to bring people together in this troubling time,” Lopez said.
Noel Loved Music, Especially Country, & Was a Cellist for the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra
Noel very often shared news about concerts she would attend, clubs she’s visit and often, updates about ‘Country Night’ at Borderline. She posted that she’d be gong to the Halloween hoedown at Borderline. Following the mass shooting mass shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.
Noel loved folk and country music, but as a musician herself, she likely also played some classical music. Indeed, Noel played the cello for the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra.
“We are heartbroken to hear about Noel. She played her cello with us. Our thoughts are with the Sparks Family and all those affected by this tragedy.”
Noel, A Committed Christian, Was a Congregant at United Methodist Church of Westlake Village Who Mourned Her Passing. An Animal Lover, She Was Described as ‘Kind & Gentle’
Wendy Anderson posted images of her and her daughter Noel. She shared one from 2016 where Noel was singing during a church service.
“It is with heavy hearts that we notify you that Noel Sparks was among the victims of last night’s shooting,” the church wrote in a statement. “We grieve with Tony Sparks and Wendy Anderson.”
A member of the Calvary High School Ministry, she shared a memory from 2015 where she and others in the ministry attended a wintertime retreat at Hume Lake Christian Camp.
And after the Ventura fires of the fall and early winter of 2017, Noel shared an image of a cross monument in Ventura County that withstood the blaze.
“Praise God it still stands,” she wrote. The Cross is a fountain and monument
In a now at once lovely and tragic post, Wendy Anderson wrote this about Noel:
“My daughter’s talking to me as usual and then as usual she just blows me out of the water with a comment that is going 5th make me look at the world a little different from now on …..She comments “We are such a wealthy country that not only do we have houses , but we also build houses for our cars. Mean while there are homeless families many with children. We. Don’t seem to build houses for them. Same with insurance, We have to insure our car but forever and a day we didn’t have to insure our children”. A born leader is what I got on my hands!!!”
Noel thanked her for the post and blew her mom emoji kiss.
Noel Was Loved by Family & Friends. A Community Fundraiser Has Been Set Up to Honor Noel & Help Her Mother Wendy Anderson
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Noel’s friend Sarah Penrose made an entreaty on Facebook for information.
“My friend Noel Sparks went last night and still hasn’t been heard from. Other friends have checked at the hospital, at her home, and tried the support line for finding missing loved ones. Praying that there is an explanation for why we haven’t heard from her…that maybe her phone is inside the building and she just hasn’t had a chance to contact anyone. If anyone has seen or heard from Noel, please let me know so I can pass information on to her family and friends!!”
Later in the day, when it was learned Noel had been killed in the attack at the nightclub, Penrose updated her post:
“Noel was confirmed as one of the victims from last night’s shooting. Even though we knew something was very wrong after we hadn’t heard from her all morning and others were connecting with their loved ones, it doesn’t make this heartbreaking news any easier to bear. ??
All I can say is that Jesus loves her FAR more than we ever could. And she leaves behind her a legacy of selfless-servitude. She was always so joyful to help others and fill needs. Wishing I could have spent more time with her before this happened. Praying for her friends and family.”
Noel is survived by her parents Wendy Crawford Anderson and Tony Sparks.
A fundraiser has been set up to help Noel’s mother Wendy Anderson.
“On behalf of the Conejo Valley community, we are setting up this page to support Wendy after the tragic loss of her beautiful daughter Noel. Noel was an amazing soul who lost her life at the Borderline Bar & Grill. We grieve with Tony Sparks and Wendy Anderson. Please do all you can to support Wendy in this time of need and sorrow. Wendy has just undergone back surgery. So, we don’t want her to worry about mounting medical bills and funeral expenses. Please help support her and keep the family in your prayers. All donations will go directly to Wendy. Thank you for your generosity,” wrote Cathleen Larson.