NEW GLASGOW, N.S.
If Hugh “Sparky” Paris has been at the New Glasgow Council Chambers on Monday when he was inducted into the New Glasgow Business Wall of Fame, he wouldn’t have said much, says his wife Ruth.
“He was a very humble person,” she said after the event on Oct. 15. “He didn’t like a lot of fanfare. If he was here, he’d just say ‘Thank you very much.’”
But the crowd who filled the New Glasgow council chambers for the induction, had plenty to say of the businessman who passed away in 2013 at the age of 91.
Mayor Nancy Dicks read out a bit of the history of the New Glasgow man’s business and why he was inducted. Sparky caught the entrepreneurial spirit early on in life, she said, and started his own egg business and newspaper delivery job when he was only seven.
When he was older, he began working on farms and trained horses that came from the west to do farm work or for racing.
It was after working at Garson’s Scrap and Metal and he saw the need for people to haul coal, wood and ashes, that he decided to go into business for himself.
By 1950, he had purchased his first truck and started Sparky’s Light Trucking and in the decades to follow would move furniture, people and anything else that needed to be hauled as well as clean garages and basements.
He largely catered his business to seniors and low income families and was known for keeping his prices low and refusing tips. His clients trusted him so much, they’d often give him the keys to their house.
Ruth worked alongside him as a receptionist, bookkeeper and scheduler and told how her late husband loved to give young people a chance at work. Over the years, he gave opportunities to dozens and dozens of young people.
“It didn’t matter what colour or creed, he loved everybody,” she said.
His niece Tracey Thomas also shared memories about Sparky’s generosity.
“Even though we were poor, we didn’t realize we didn’t have a lot because Uncle Spark gave us skates. Anytime you needed a bike you could just go to the back of the truck and grab a bike. It all depended on what he hauled in. Everything old was new again.”
She laughed as she recalled how she and other kids learned to count by counting bottles for him.
“Growing up he was always a good role model and provided a lot of good advice,” she said.
She said she and her sister now have a business and attribute the influence of Sparky to inspiring them.
Paris is the third inductee into the New Glasgow Business Wall of Fame.