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Richard Sparks01/06/2015
Richard Lee Sparks age 77, of Knoxville, passed away Tuesday morning, January 6, 2015, at the Hospice Comfort House of Pella.

Richard was born November 30, 1937, in Knoxville, Iowa, the son of Walter and Opal (Shotwell) Sparks. Richard was raised in Knoxville and graduated from Knoxville High School, Class of 1957.

Richard served his country in the United States Air Force. He served from March of 1960 to October of 1963 and was stationed in Mississippi and Greenland.

After his service Richard worked with the Air National Guard in Des Moines for a short time and for many years Richard was a sub with the Knoxville Post office.

In 1967 Richard joined the Knoxville Police Department and shortly after began his local locksmith business.

He served in the police department for 27 years. he retired in 1994 as the Assistant Chief of Police. For a short time after retiring from the police department, Richard was the head of security for the Knoxville Racetrack.

On February 29, 1968, in Knoxville, Iowa, Richard and Vera Irene Cowman were united in marriage. They shared over 46 years of marriage together and were blessed with three children; Mary, Heather, and Buffy.

Richard enjoyed all types of racing and for a short time, he owned a race car. He liked watching football, shopping and browsing at flea markets, visiting and playing cards with his family on Sunday evenings, and he collected interesting and unique keys and locks.

Richard is survived by his wife of over 46 years Vera Sparks of Knoxville; three daughters, Mary Mathews – Slone and husband Vic of Des Moines, Heather Welch and husband Bryan of Adel, and Buffy Farley and husband Mike of Newton; three grandchildren, Brennyn Sparks, Caitlin Kennedy and husband Patrick, and Draven Welch.

Richard is also survived by his sister Carmila Onstank of Knoxville. He was preceded in death by his parents; and two sisters, Lila Carter and Kay Angove.

Visitation will begin at 12:00 Noon, Friday, January 9, 2015, at the Winfield Funeral Home of Knoxville. Richard’s family will be present at the funeral home from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M., Friday evening. Richard Sparks

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, January 10, 2015, at the Winfield Funeral Home of Knoxville, with Pastor Brent Hanna officiating. Burial with military honors will be held at Graceland Cemetery.

A memorial in Richard’s memory has been established for The Grand Theatre and the Knoxville Rescue. Condolences may be sent to