A tribute service for Mark Avery Sprouse, an Amherst County man who died in a crash on Interstate 81 in August, was held Sunday, Oct. 13 at the Dixie Youth softball fields on Lakeview Drive in Madison Heights.

Sprouse, 47, died at the scene of the crash in Montgomery County when the tire of a box truck he was traveling in blew out, Virginia State Police have said. The Madison Heights resident had “contagious” joy, was a giver who performed acts of kindness in his community and enjoyed hunting, the outdoors and spending time with family, his obituary said.

Alexia Campbell, sister of his wife, Ellen Sprouse, said a candlelight vigil was held at the ball fields and attendees were asked to bring a canned food in his memory to donate toward feeding the hungry, a cause he supported in his lifetime.

“He really touched a lot of people’s lives in the community,” Campbell said of her brother-in-law.

She said Sprouse was always at the ball fields where his children and family spent much time playing.

Sprouse was a faithful member of New Beginning Tabernacle in Madison Heights where he served as a greeter, usher and bus driver and would often hold umbrellas for people coming in out of the rain, according to Campbell and his obituary.

“He was very outgoing,” Campbell said. “Anyone he met, he tried to make laugh.”

She said many who knew him have funny stories to tell and those were encouraged during the Oct. 13 gathering.

Campbell said Sprouse had pennies with a cross placed on them that he would randomly give to people as a way to share the Gospel message he lived by.

“His faith was very strong,” she said.

Ellen Sprouse said her husband made his mark in life and loved people, especially kids. She said he helped others and was involved in a ministry at his church to help the hungry.

“... It was never a dull moment with him. He was always the center of attention whether he tried to be or not. ... He lived every day like it was his last,” Ellen Sprouse said. “He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, friend and follower of Christ. He showed us every day how big his heart really was in so many ways.”

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Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

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