Kenneth Leroy Sparks, formerly of Orange, TX, passed away after a long illness, December 14, 2007, at his home in Houston at the age of 76. Born to Mary Ethel Roberson Sparks and Willis Daniel Sparks II in Edwardsville, Illinois on May 19 th, 1931, the fifth of ten children, he is survived by his brother Paul of Las Vegas, Nevada and sister Marie King of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was preceded in death by his wife Juanita Faye Bohannan Sparks in 1991 and by his second wife, Martha Dugas Broussard Sparks in 2006.
After his family moved to Arizona when he was 4 years old, they returned to share-crop a cotton farm in Arkansas in 1942, where Ken’s formal education ended with the 6 th grade. At age 16 he joined the United States Army, went through paratrooper training, then to Korea when hostilities broke out. He was married to his childhood sweetheart in 1949 and moved back to Arizona with one child in 1952. There his family prospered until 1960 when he moved his wife and four children to Silver City, New Mexico. There he worked his way through college and eventually earned a Masters Degree in 1961 from the Art Education Department of Western New Mexico University. Ken taught High School art for a few years, did building construction and contracting, and was the Director of the Physical Plant for Western New Mexico University and the New Mexico Military Academy. In 1978 he moved to Beaumont, Texas as the Director of the Physical Plant for Lamar University, where he met and married the second love of his life, Martha Dugas Broussard of Bridge City, Texas in 1985. Later that year he suffered his first heart attack and surgery. Following a partial recovery, he worked as a mall manager for three years until retiring in 1990.
He is also survived by: three sons, Gary Sparks of of Portland, Oregon, Wyatt Sparks of Ruidoso, New Mexico, and Keith Sparks of Houston, Texas and by two daughters, Dr. Twana Sparks of Silver City, New Mexico, and Darla Daigle of Groves, Texas. Also dear to his heart was one nephew, Eugene Sparks and Eugene’s son, Kenneth, of Manchaca, Texas; his two stepsons, Major Michael Broussard of the Orange Police Department, and Dale Broussard of Louisville, Kentucky; and one step daughter, Sandra Myers of Bridge City, Texas. His earthly remains may be viewed at 10 a.m. Saturday December 29, 2007 at Claybar Funeral Home in Bridge City. A brief funeral service will begin at 3 p.m., with interment to follow immediately at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens, Reverend Marv Howland officiating.