Cover photo for James Sparks's Obituary
James Sparks Profile Photo
1943 James 2020

James Sparks

June 4, 1943 — May 23, 2020

Dandridge, TN

James H. “Jim” Sparks, 76, of Dandridge, TN, formerly of Bettendorf, IA, and Abingdon, IL, passed away much too soon on Saturday, May 23, 2020, at his home in Tennessee.

On June 4, 1943, in Titonka, IA, the Universe gifted Jim, the second of two sons, to Howard and Verna June (Dimond) Sparks.  He grew up farming.  Jim graduated from State College of Iowa (UNI) with a degree in Mathematics, and soon began working as an industrial engineer at Oscar Meyer in Davenport.  He continued employment there until his retirement in 1998.

In the following years, Jim became interested in creating stained glass artworks, and met Lu Ann Steffen, a fellow artist.   The two later moved from Illinois into the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.  Among other activities, Jim continued to ride his Harley, work with glass, travel, read voraciously, mow the lawn, and voice his opinions.

Ever a kid at heart, Jim delighted in assigning surreptitious nicknames to everyone he knew.

He had a passion for cooking and could often be found in the kitchen experimenting with recipes.  He had a keen intellect and a unique sense of humor.  He enjoyed his Jeep, the Iowa Hawkeyes, and FOX News.  He never sang, and claimed he couldn’t.  He loved his country, his privacy, guns, tequila, and hot sauce.  To say Jim valued a dollar would be an understatement.  To say Jim valued his close friends and family would be another one.

Jim will be remembered as opinionated, ornery, quick-witted, rational, practical, and at the core, sincere and loving.  He possessed the increasingly-rare quality of caring.  He was pleasingly one-of-a-kind.  There will never be another like him.

A visitation will be held at Stackhouse-Moore Funeral & Cremation Services, Cambridge, on Saturday, May 30, 2020, from noon to 2:00pm.  He will be “planted” at Rosedale Cemetery, Cambridge, at a graveside service immediately following the visitation.   In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Jim’s honor to Friends of the Smokies, for preservation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or to Britt Hobo Days Association, in Britt, Iowa.

Those surviving to cherish the memories of Jim’s sarcastic wit, impish laugh, and unique charm include his “partner in crime,” Lu Ann Steffen; son, Joshua Sparks; daughter, Brandi (Dave) Wayt; “G-sons,” Greg and Nick Wayt; Bob the cat; extended family and many like-minded friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Darryl.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Sparks, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, May 30, 2020

12:00 - 2:00pm (Eastern time)

Stackhouse-Moore Funeral Services, Inc., Cambridge Chapel

212 E Court St, Cambridge, IL 61238

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Saturday, May 30, 2020

2:30 - 4:00pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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