Stan Sparks, 79, passed away on April 9, 2022, in Amarillo, Texas. Stan was born on March 25, 1943, to the late James Creston “Bill” Sparks and Grayce Evelyn (Bailey) Sparks in Amarillo, Texas.
Stan grew up in Amarillo attending Wilson Elementary School, Elizabeth Nixson Junior High, and Amarillo High School. He graduated from Amarillo High with the Class of 1961 where he was Mr. AHS. He was part of the Sandstorm football and track teams. After high school, Stan continued his football career and education at the University of Arkansas from 1961-1963. After moving back to Amarillo, he met his wife, Carolyn Conrad, whom he married in 1971. Together they raised two daughters, Carissa and Channing. Stan was a salesman in the wholesale liquor business for over 35 years.
To know Stan was to love him. Since the day he was born, Stan has always been the light in the family with his big, coal-black eyes peeking out of his newborn blanket. Stan was born during World War II, which was a difficult time for most people. His father worked long hours as a railroad conductor moving troop trains from coast to coast. Stan’s dad suffered a debilitating stroke at the age of 41 in 1947, when Stan was only 4 years old. His father’s medical condition left Stan virtually without a father and required his mother to raise three children on her own. His big brother, Bill, took over the role of the father figure and his sister Patsy was always by his side. In true Texas fashion, “neighbor helping neighbor”, they had lots of help from the community of Amarillo – store clerks, coaches, pastors, and Cub Scout leaders always looked out for Stan. Even though times were tough, Stan always had a big, warm smile on his face. He brought joy and laughter to everyone he met. He could talk to anyone and make them feel comfortable and engaged, which was what made him a great salesman. There was always a joke or funny story that he could tell to relate to people. Stan’s sense of humor and gift of storytelling will be missed.
Some of Stan’s best stories and times were from Arkansas – where he would run around with his cousins at the “old Bailey home place,” fish, and spend time with the extended family.
He was thrilled to be able to attend the University of Arkansas to play football. A highlight of his football career was playing in the 1963 Sugar Bowl. He said one of the most memorable experiences he ever had was being on the University of Arkansas field when fans “called the Hogs.” While at Arkansas and throughout his life, Stan made lasting friendships with people who truly cherished the great and funny man he was.
His legacy is his love of family, love of the outdoors, and the love of animals. Fishing was Stan’s favorite hobby. It didn’t matter what kind of fishing – dropping a line in a pond, fishing in Alaska for halibut, fishing at Lake Leon with his work buddies on his water wagon or at the Texas hole in the San Juan River; Stan loved to fish!
Stan especially loved his fly fishing trips. He taught his girls and grandkids the joy and peace of fly fishing. If he wasn’t fishing, he was hunting or on the golf course. All of these outdoor adventures were full of memories and stories with dear friends and family. Stan’s love of the outdoors didn’t stop with sport hobbies. His yard and flower beds were always showstoppers. Seeing him smiling (unless the Dallas Cowboys lost) on his riding mower was a weekly occurrence.
Stan loved all kinds of animals. From raising pigs in Claude, Texas to building wood duck houses, to helping to bathe the grand dogs, Stan cared for all creatures no matter the size.
Stan Sparks was a man of integrity and fierce loyalty. If he called you a friend, you were blessed. Stan spread compassion and happiness to everyone he met. His love of life, smile, and laugh were contagious and will be missed by all that knew him.
He is preceded in death by his parents, brother Bill Sparks, and sister-in-law Glenda Sparks.
His memory and legacy will be carried on by his wife of 50 years, Carolyn Sparks, of Amarillo; daughter Carissa Nichols and husband Kirk, of Amarillo; daughter Channing Sparks, of Amarillo; sister Patsy Myers and husband Cecil, of Felt, Oklahoma; 3 grandchildren, Ashton Nichols and fiancée Morgan Goodlett, of Amarillo, Spencer Nichols, of Roanoke, Texas, and Mattie Nichols of Amarillo; 2 great-grandchildren, newborn twins, Ollie and Owen Nichols, of Amarillo; his beloved cousins (“The Bailey Boys”) and their families from Northwest Arkansas; as well as, 5 nieces, 2 nephews, many grand and great-grand nieces and nephews. He also leaves behind his much-loved grand and great-grand dogs.
Services will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary at the First Baptist Church of Amarillo. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Memorial donations may be made to Snack Pak 4 Kids, 2406 SW 3rd, Amarillo, Texas 79106, Maverick Boys and Girls Club, 1923 S. Lincoln St., Amarillo, Texas 79109 or Kids Inc. of Amarillo, 2201 E. 27th Ave., Amarillo, Texas 79103.
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