Jack D. Sparks passed away at 6:25 p.m. Feb. 19, 2012 at Kennewick. He was surrounded by family and his longtime companion, Dorothy Rapinsky.
He was born in Kettle Falls, WA on April 1, 1935 to Claude D. and Virginia Esther (Beach) Sparks. He married Marilyn Diann McWhorter in 1954 in Yakima before moving to Hawaii for military duty. Jack served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1968, seeing duty in the Korean theater and in Thailand in support of the Vietnam operations.
After leaving the Army, he served with the U.S. Forest Service for 20 years as a heavy equipment operator and mechanic. He did his work in many of the western forests from Washington to New Mexico and revered the awesome beauty of the land.
After retiring, Jack worked a 3,000-acre cattle ranch with his third wife, Gladys (Griggs) near Republic, and later with a partner on some Montana gold mining claims.
Jack is survived by his sister, Vada Rae Kohn (Harry), of Burbank; daughters Jacqueline D. Baker (Dave), Vancouver; and their children, Virginia M. Sparks, Sekiu, and Laura J. Uphoff (Mike), Vancouver; and their children, sons, Steve W. Sparks and Eric J. Sparks (Christina), Shelton; and their children, 15 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Jack spent the last two-and-a-half months of his life on earth where he best liked to be, on the road. Accompanied by his son, he left from Coeur d'Alene in December and traveled the Western states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Montana.
Stopping often as we rolled along the less traveled routes in this vast territory, we sat for awhile to study all of the natural beauty and the animals that he loved so much. He said many times that people need to slow down, appreciate and show respect for all the animals and the beauty we have in this country. It is part of us and what happens to it--happens to us.
Our journey with him ended in Kennewick, but his journey continues into other realms. Journey on Father, we hope there is more beauty where you are going.
A Veteranâ€™s service will be held at the Coeur d'Alene Memorial Cemetery
at a later date.