Jean Sparozic passed Jan. 12 in West Newbury, MA. He was 93, and had residences in Huntington, Port Washington and Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Sparozic was the beloved husband of the late Joyce Dendievel Sparozic; the loving father of Jill Morrison, Suzy Sparozic, and Wendy Dirkes; the adored grandfather of Jonathan and Ryan; and the dear brother of Marie Gunderson.
Reposing at Austin F. Knowles, Inc. Funeral Home, located at 128 Main St. Port Washington Friday, Jan. 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. Graveside service is Saturday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. at Nassau Knolls Cemetery.
For over 40 years, Sparozic was owner of Amoureuse Couture, a 7th Avenue Evening Gown Mfg. Amoureuse Couture in NYC, making glamorous custom formal gowns for such notables as Mamie Eisenhower, wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Opera singer, Beverly Sills, Kathryn Harken (the wife of Zero Mostel), Rudy Giuliani’s second wife, Donna Hanover for President George H.W. Bush’s inauguration, a Saudi Prince’s daughter, Rose Mary Clooney, amongst celebrity clients, with a Fashion Show at Studio 54 in its heyday. He also sold gowns to such stores as Saks, Hirshleifer’s on Miracle Mile, and many more around the country. Before opening his own company, he worked with Bill Blass and Oleg Cassini amongst others notable fashion industry giants.
His life began Sept. 3, 1926 in Masny, France. As a child he was educated at a convent with his sister and his mother, a devout Catholic had high hopes he would enter the seminary. Sparozic had other ideas and wanted to become a merchant sea captain and see the world. At 16, that dream became a reality when he joined the French Merchant Marines during World War II, making close to 40 trips to the U.S. and other ports of call. Many times, the ships carried American soldiers and supplies back to war torn France and other sea ports. The first time, each time after he came to New York Harbor, he would never forget the sight of seeing the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom.
While in New York City, during free time, he would visit the USO French Canteen, where he met his future bride, Joyce Dendievel, a beautiful, young British and French fashion designer. Joyce was fluent in French and was a volunteer at the canteen for the war effort. Jean had tickets to Radio City Christmas Show and the romance bloomed. Joyce was smitten with Jean’s French accent and Johnny Depp good looks. After several trips back and forth to France, at 19 years old, Jean decided he wanted to make a life with Joyce in the U.S., and they were married. Not knowing English, it was rough at first finding work. After moving to Port Washington to live with Joyce and her family, Jean worked for a time at Shield’s Plumbing. The couple moved to New York City and he would find himself working at the Waldorf Astoria in the kitchen, until he visited Joyce’s company, and she helped him find work in the garment district. He became fascinated with the pattern makers and started taking night courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he became proficient in pattern making and tops in his field. At this point, in 1958, Joyce had become a mother to the three girls, and his wife had saved enough to buy a home. In 1966, he started Amoureuse Couture, and the rest is history. He continued taking courses of all sorts well into his 50s. Jean didn’t retire until in his 80s, acting as a consultant and head pattern maker for other firms in New York City’s Garment Center, including Land’s End, and other top brands.
Around this time, Jean also was able to help bring his mother, step-father, sister and her children from Algiers which was war torn from French Algerian War at the time, to live in Port Washington, as well.
Sparozic was an avid sailor and kept his boat moored at the Port Washington Town Dock, taking his family out sailing and fishing. The couple had spent many summer’s in Montauk camping and fishing, as well. Jean’s other love was restoring old Mercedes Benz in his spare time, well into his 80s, and traveling. He will be sorely missed.