In Memoriam: Albert William Sparrow III, MD, MPH

January 25, 2024

Albert Sparrow obituary photo.Albert William Sparrow III, MD, MPH, age 90, passed away on January 25, 2024, in East Lansing, Michigan.

Dr. Sparrow joined the faculty of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in 1972 as professor of medicine where he remained until his retirement in 2011. He was among the pioneering faculty of the College of Human Medicine, and spoke fondly of that exciting time in a video produced for the college’s 50th anniversary in 2014 (VIDEO see 0:53).

“We were young academic physicians with lots of ideas, lots of energy and we were given complete freedom,” said Dr. Sparrow.

While at the college, Dr. Sparrow specialized in pediatric and preventive cardiology, where he served as the chair of the College of Human Medicine Department of Pediatrics and Human Development from 1991-2001, and as director of the Preventive Cardiology Program. He was actively involved in numerous departmental, college and Sparrow Hospital committees.

Throughout his career, Dr. Sparrow served on state task forces and committees involved in cardiac health education and policy making. He was a member of the Michigan Medical Society Committee on State Legislature and Regulations and was district councilor of the Michigan Chapter of the American College of Cardiology. In addition, Dr. Sparrow was involved with many professional organizations including the American Heart Association, Michigan Heart Association, and the American Board of Pediatrics.

Dr. Sparrow earned his bachelor’s degree at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, his medical degree from Georgetown University and later earned his Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology at the Harvard University School of Public Health. He began his medical career while also serving for three years as a U.S. Air Force Captain and flight surgeon. He completed his pediatric residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and was an NIH-postdoctoral fellow in pediatric cardiology at Children’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., before joining the faculty at the University of Virginia Medical School in Charlottesville, Va.

Al was an active member of the MSU community and greatly enjoyed swimming, boating and lake life on Lake Lansing in Haslett. He was an avid fan of the Michigan State football, basketball, hockey, and lacrosse teams and enjoyed attending productions at Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.