Idaho State Journal, 11/06/12
KAYSVILLE, Utah — Donald (Donny) “J” Sparks passed away due to natural causes at 88 years old at the home of his daughter, Penni, in Kaysville, Utah, on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at 9:40 a.m. He was born July 24, 1924 in Dingle, Idaho, the youngest of 10 children. One place he lived is the current location of the church, a building he later helped build and maintain. His family was very close and never spoke a cross word.
Due to the death of his mother when he was 8, he learned independence at a very young age, and learned to hunt, fish, and trap by following the footsteps of his brothers. He put in a vegetable garden each year with his sister, Ellen, would sell vegetables by the side of the road, and would trap and sell his furs to buy his own school clothes. By age 10 he had even earned enough to buy himself a Model “T” Ford.
He attended first grade in Cokeville, Wyo., then went to the old Dingle school until eighth grade. Since high school was optional during the Great Depression, he chose to work, and became quite a handyman.
At age 19, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, Jan. 17, 1944, just before the World War II draft. He served on a dry dock ship in the Pacific, achieving the rank of Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class, was awarded three medals, and was discharged April 28, 1946.
Donny earned and saved enough money (mostly from cutting hair and hemming dungarees in the Navy during his non-duty time) to buy a house ($800 cash) in which he lived until his death. Initially it just had three rooms, a coal stove, a pitcher pump and an outhouse. Later, he would expand to include a bathroom, two more bedrooms, a utility room, an enclosed porch, and a family room, with electricity, plumbing and a furnace.
He was known to give free “butch” haircuts to the neighborhood kids, would hunt, trap, and make deer jerky. He taught himself to play the accordion, and was in a band with Shurel Nate, playing for dances. His favorite music is Eddie Arnold.
He met Wanda at a dance in Border, Wyo., and they were married three months later, Sept. 5, 1959, at his sister’s home in Dingle (Ellen and Ted Humburg home); and gladly he took on the responsibilities for her four children. They added two more children in 1960 and 1961.
He worked at Monsanto, was a farmhand, was self-employed as a carpenter, and was the maintenance supervisor for the school district, when he retired. He maintained the Dingle church and gym while Wanda was the custodian for many years. They were on a bowling league together for years.
Donny continued trapping, hunting, and fishing (even ice fishing), cutting wood for his wood stove, camping, and enjoying the outdoors well into his later years. He found joy in raising a garden and making home repairs his whole life until a year ago.
Donny was preceded in death by his wife, Wanda Beth (Densley) Sparks, his parents, George Hyrum and Myrtle Elizabeth (Cook) Sparks, his five brothers and four sisters, and one grandson. He is survived by his children, Dennis Earl Dowding, Elwood Jay Dowding, LaRee (Dowding) Nessen, Neal Dowding, Penni Daun (Sparks) Eads, and Donald George Sparks; and by 25 grandchildren, 12 greatgrandchildren, and two greatgreat-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 11 a.m., at the LDS Church, 4197 Dingle Road, Dingle, Idaho 83233. Viewing, 9 to 10:45 a.m. Family prayer, 10:45 a.m. Interment, Dingle, Idaho Cemetery.