James “Sparky” Sparks

On December 21, 2019, the world lost a great man. James Fred Sparks, age 78, of Yankton, South Dakota, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Memorial services are 3:00 PM, on Friday, December 27, 2019 at Wintz & Ray Funeral Home in Yankton with Reverend Ron Johnson officiating. Inurnment with military honors will be in the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota at a later date. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

He was born on December 29, 1940 in Yankton, South Dakota to George and Elsie Sparks. He was known as Jim, James, Jimmy, or Sparky, but regardless of what name you called him, he was consistently known as a kind man of integrity who had a great sense of humor. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to family, friends, or whomever needed it. Outside of his love for his wife of 54 years, Verna, and his daughters Sheryl and Christine, Jim was also known for his profound love for cars. He built them and he raced them (not professionally, just on the streets). Jim simply loved everything automotive. He touched so many lives and he will be missed dearly but the legend of Jim Sparks will continue on forever. In memory of Jim, lend a helping hand to your neighbors and do something good for someone else – do what Jim would do.

Jim is survived by his wife, Verna Sparks of Yankton; two daughters, Sheryl (David) Martin of Gillette, WY and Christine (William) Hughes of St. Louis, MO; two grandchildren, Jordan Martin and Ewald Hughes; along with numerous extended family members.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents; five sisters and three brothers.

In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer memorials to the ALS Association.

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3 response to "James “Sparky” Sparks"

  1. By: David R Sparks Posted: December 23, 2019

    Rest in peace Uncle Jim.

  2. By: Mary Jo Connelly Posted: December 24, 2019

    Thoughts and prayers to all the family as they celebrate Jim’s life. He lived big, and will be fondly remembered by me as being a soul with gentle strength, kind heart and a man who with a loving and devoted wife raised 2 beautiful, smart girls; one (Sheryl) who married my son, David, I pray as you share together the memories of Jim’s life, it will bring comfort to Verna and the family, and Jim’s friends. God’s blessings to you.

  3. By: Bill Auffert Posted: December 31, 2019

    I meet Jim and his future wife at Ellsworth AFB Rapid City South Dakota in 1963 while both oh us were in the Air Force there. He was discharged before I was and went back to Yankton to live. At that time my oldest sister was attending college there in Yankton so I spent many miles and hours traveling to and from Yankton visiting my sister, Jim and family. He is the most thoughtful and very dearest friend I’ve had for 59 years. We enjoyed racing and having a beer at the Ice House there in Yankton. I will very dearly miss his smiling face and all the great times we’ve had. He was taking the place of my brother I lost many, many years ago. Good bye brother Jim.

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