Local Fort Smith Leader Leaves Behind Legacy

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)-- James 'Jim' Sparks Jr. passed away on June 2, but his contributions to the city of Fort Smith will benefit the community for years to come.

"Sucking the marrow out of life, that pretty much covers him," James Sparks III said. "You know, he was bigger than life and he did have that about him."

James Sparks Jr., commonly known as Jim, is known throughout Fort Smith.

A World War II vet, and an alumni of The University of Arkansas, Sparks moved to Fort Smith to raise his family.

He was a former Senior Vice President at The First National Bank of Fort Smith where he served on the Board of Directors for over 50 years. He helped start the Crime Stoppers program and was on the Board of Directors for Sparks Regional Medical Center for 14 years.

"He enjoyed Fort Smith," James Sparks III said. "He enjoyed the role he played in Fort Smith. I know he is very proud of the things he accomplished."

He was a jokester and his son said his father was a 'don't ask permission, apologize later' type of guy.

"He goes to Hot Springs to a Joan Rivers act and after the show, he goes backstage," James Sparks III said. "He says, 'Oh here's a couple of tickets I have for my private box at Oaklawn.' She showed up.  He spends the day with Joan Rivers, just because he asked her."

Survived by five children, nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, the Sparks commitment to the community and legacy will live on in the city of Fort Smith.

Monday (June 6) family and friends of Sparks will gather to remember him at St. John's Episcopal Church in Fort Smith. He will be buried at Oak Cemetery.

James Sparks Jr. Obituary