James Edward Sparks, 72, of Maricopa, Arizona passed away on March 1, 2022.
Jim was born on January 31, 1950 to Leslie Jean and Robert Sparks in Corvallis, Oregon. After graduating from Glacier High School in 1968, he went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1973 and later completed a Master of Engineering Science degree at Loyola College in Maryland.
Jim worked in the Aerospace Industry for many years for Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, General Dynamics and AAI Corporation, traveling across the United States with his family. A highlight of his career was the time he spent working on SpaceLab.
Jim and Helen, his wife of 52 years, met their senior year of high school and were married on December 29, 1969 in Des Moines, Washington.
Jim loved movies and had an encyclopedic knowledge of movie actors before IMDB was cool. He loved stories about underdogs, particularly women and young people, overcoming oppressive hierarchies and empowering others to succeed. Jim loved both playing and watching tennis, a love he shared with his mother. He was a lifetime member of the United States Chess Federation. He loved nature and national parks. His favorite activities were tinkering with computer technology new and old and studying historic events.
Jim was an exceptionally patient driver’s ed teacher to his daughter and built custom computers for every member of his family. He also taught his son how to build custom computers, and shared in his love of computer programming.
Jim is survived by his wife, Helen, his siblings Joel Sparks and Leslie Austin-Sparks, his son Ben and daughter-in-law Erica, his daughter Bethany, and five grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Jim’s memory to either the USTA Foundation (United States Tennis Association) or the American Diabetes Association.