by Tom Childers

LAKE CORMORANT, Miss. (BNc) — Gospel preacher, farmer and businessman, Clarence Sparks, Jr. passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 5, at his home after an extended illness.

Sparks was born on October 4, 1931 to Clarence, Sr. and Louise Pounders Sparks and was a lifelong resident of DeSoto County. He leaves behind two daughters, Kim (Jewel) Wallis of Lake Cormorant and Kara (Bobby) Shreeves of Olive Branch and one grandson, Matthew Wallis. He was preceded in death by his wife of fifty-seven years, Connie Sparks.

Mr. Sparks attended Oak Hill School, a one room, one teacher, eight grades rural school in central DeSoto County and graduated from Eudora High School. He earned academic degrees from Freed Hardeman University, Lipscomb University and Harding University Graduate School of Religion. After college graduation, he returned to the family farm and became a partner with his father, M.C. Sparks, Sr., producing crops of cotton, soybeans, wheat, corn and cattle. He married his college sweetheart, Cornelia “Connie” Ellis of Henderson, Tenn.

Sparks was a minister for the Church for over fifty years. He was a commissioner of the DeSoto County Soil and Water Conservation District, chairman of the DeSoto County Planning Commission, chairman of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council, president of Harding University Graduate School of Religion Alumni Association, member of the Freed Hardeman University Advisory Board, chairman of the board for Sunnybrook Children’s Home in Jackson, Miss., and chairman of the Northwest Mississippi Community college board of trustees. He was inducted into the Mississippi Agricultural Hall of Fame and the National Soil and Water Conservation Hall of Fame.

Sparks participated in a seminar on Biblical archaeology in Israel and traveled to many European countries. He was a member at the Southaven congregation.

Funeral services will be Saturday, Sept. 8, at Southaven Church of Christ, beginning at 2 p.m. Burial will follow in New Bethlehem Cemetery, Horn Lake. Visitation will be held Friday, Sept. 7 from 5-8 p.m. at the Southaven Church of Christ. The family requests that memorial donations be sent to the Clarence and Cornelia Sparks Scholarship Fund at Freed Hardeman University, Henderson, Tenn. Arrangements were made by the Brantley-Phillips Funeral Home.

Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.