Idaho State Journal, 09/01/13
After 82 years of vibrant living, unconditional love and constant service, Thella King Sparks died unexpectedly but peacefully on August 28, 2013. She leaves us an enduring legacy of her love and her faith in the Savior.
She was born in her grandparent’s home on the hill in Sharon, Idaho to Lawrence Thomas King and Vonda Adelia Orr on March 9, 1931. Just eleven months younger than her dear sister and close companion of 82 years, Vera King Nate. She grew up surrounded by a loving family.
She met the love of her life when she was but fourteen years old. He told her he would “Come back and marry her when she grew up” -- and he did. Thella and William Dean Sparks were married at the home of his parents, William “Bill” Sparks and Dora Humburg Sparks in Dingle, Idaho on December 15, 1950. They were sealed together as a family forever in the Logan, Utah Temple on June 4, 1956. They started their life together in a 2-room log cabin moved to the family ranch down Black Otter Lane and remained at the home they built there together until Dean passed away September 2, 2000. After his death and the Sparks Black Angus Ranch became too much for Thella to operate, she sold the family ranch and built a new home beside their daughter, Carol in Dingle.
For nearly 50 years, in unity and love, Thella and Dean accomplished the work of life and influenced the lives of many, especially their children:
Vonda LaDeen (Davis, Wright) Taylor, Carol and Harold Sparks, Bob and Mickie Sparks, Doreen and Tim Kline, and Adelia Ann Grigsby; 21 grandchildren; and 35 great-grandchildren.
She knew every grandchild and great-grandchild personally and never missed a Christmas, Birthday, Baptism, baby blessing, or Anniversary with a handpicked card and a treasure inside.
Thella was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She served in the Relief Society, Primary, Sunday School, and was active in Temple work. Together Thella and Dean served a mission calling in the Logan Temple as workers. She was instrumental in completing hundreds of family names and surely was greeted by many as she left this earthly life.
Thella was a hard worker. She worked her entire life until she retired in 1993 as a waitress, taking many of her grandchildren and others under “her wing”. She assumed the responsibilities of the cattle ranch driving tractor, feeding, birthing calves, and raising quality Black Angus Bulls until well into her 70’s. She maintained a meticulous home and yard. She loved concerts, any sports activity, camping, family gatherings, cooking, quilting and playing cards. She loved to dance and showed off her jitterbug skills with Arlo at his Birthday party in June of this year.
She will forever live in the stellar examples she was of compassionate service to others. Her Christ-like service touched the lives of so many. She always considered her family to be her greatest accomplishment.
Thella is survived by children, sisters: Vera K. Nate of Dingle Idaho and Mabel Hoff of Oregon. Brother: Deverl (Barbara) King of Montpelier, Idaho. Brother in law: Arlo J. Kunz of Bern, Idaho and Sister in law: Colleen King of Montpelier, Idaho. She was preceded in death by her dear husband, Dean; precious son, James Bert; grandson, Billy Dean; parents; siblings, Idell Kunz and LaVere King.
Thella was precious and beloved by her children and family, who wish to thank the neighbors, friends, and all who served her.
Funeral services will be held Tuesday, September 3rd at 12 noon in the Dingle Ward Chapel, Dingle, Idaho. Viewing will be held Monday from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Schwab-Matthews Mortuary and Tuesday from 10:00 am to 11:45 am prior to the service in the Dingle Ward building. Interment will be in the Dingle Cemetery.