John Earl Sparks

October 16th, 1932June 4th, 2020

John Earl Sparks passed away with his family at his side at home in Boulder, Colorado on June 4, 2020 after an extended illness. He was born October 16, 1932 in Wheatland, Wyoming. He was the only son of Analeta Lawhead Sparks and Earl Grant Sparks. He had an older sister, Aurelia, and a younger sister, Anabeth.

He grew up in Torrington, Wyoming, where his parents operated a chicken hatchery and a "cabin court" with one-room cabins for rent. As a boy, one of the cabins became John's bedroom, which came to be filled with disassembled radios and other electronic paraphernalia. As a boy he enjoyed family summers spent at Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, where his parents owned a cabin. There he could fish and climb and investigate to his heart's content.

He graduated in 1950 from Torrington High School, where he played basketball. He attended college in South Carolina and Oklahoma before graduating from the University of Wyoming in 1955 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

In 1955 he married Sarah Mertz of Indianapolis, Indiana, and began working as an electrical engineer for General Electric in Syracuse, New York, where their son Randall (Randy) and daughter Katherine (Kathy) were born. In 1962 the family moved to Boulder, Colorado, where John took a job at Ball Brothers. In 1970, he left Ball Brothers to join a small startup company, Colorado Video, Inc. He retired in 1995.

John enjoyed hiking, camping, skiing, and other activities in the Colorado mountains and elsewhere. Starting in 1963 he helped in the founding and building of Bethany Baptist Church in Boulder and was active in the church for decades to come. He and his wife later became members of First Presbyterian Church in Boulder (now Grace Commons Church).

John also enjoyed genealogy. In addition to researching family history and editing old photos and journals, he organized and participated in an extended family reunion, a trip to visit the farms and distant relatives of his wife Sarah in Germany, and a trip with his two sisters and spouses by canoe up the Niobrara River in Nebraska to locate the site of their grandparents' 19th-century homestead. John also, especially, enjoyed spending time with his granddaughters.

John is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Aurelia. He is survived by his wife, Sarah, of Boulder; son Randy (Margaret) of Lafayette, CO; daughter Kathy of Boulder; sister Anabeth (Vern) James of Loveland, CO; and granddaughters Michelle (Keith) Forsyth of Broomfield, CO, and Tamara Sparks (Matthew) Koc of Fremont, CA.


A private family graveside service will be held. A memorial celebration of John's life may be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to Grace Commons Church.


Mountain View Memorial Park






Thinking of you. I was a classmate of John's in the class of 1950. In my mind's eye, I can still see you (Sarah) and John sitting across the table from Glenn and I at our class reunion in Torrington, WY. I remember well the chicken hatchery in Torrington. In fact, my Mother bought baby chicks from them. Very good picture of John posted on obituary page. Vivian