May 24, 2012 - StaffThomas E. "Rusty" Sparks, 54, died Sunday, May 20, 2012, at his home in Lander, with his family present, after a long battle with cancer.
Funeral services are at 3 p.m. Friday, May 25, at Hudson's Funeral Home in Lander.
Thomas E. Sparks was born June 20, 1957, in Seminole, Texas, to Thomas P. and Jackie (Roach) Sparks. His family later moved to Thermopolis. When he was in elementary school, his family moved to Lander where he attended Fremont County Vocational High School.
At age 17, he joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Germany right after boot camp.
While in Germany, he met his future wife, Elisabeth. On Oct. 21, 1978, they were married in Herrieden, Germany. On Feb. 27, 1979, their son Thomas was born. In February 1980, they moved back to the United States where Mr. Sparks continued his military service at Ft. Carson, Colo.
In 1982, he was honorably discharged from the Army and they moved to Lander to be close to family. On Nov. 28, 1984, their son Michael was born.
Mr. Sparks held various jobs around Lander, including restoration of the Atlantic City iron ore mine, driving truck and as a mechanic for American Laundry, and working at Nuway Catering before starting his job at the Wyoming Life Resource Center (WSTS) where he worked for 21 years. He retired in 2010 because of his diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
His family said Mr. Sparks enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, four-wheeling, snow machining, gardening and spending time with family outside, especially spending time with his grandchildren and taking them on outdoor adventures, playing pool and darts.
Mr. Sparks is survived by his wife, Elisabeth; sons Thomas and his wife Jennifer of Lander and Michael and his wife Kayse of Kinnear; grandchildren Karolina, Kody, Jorja and Michael; stepgrandchild Justin; his sisters, Bobbi Jo Sparks of Hudson, Stacey Rodriguez of Odessa, Texas; brother Casey of Moscow, Idaho; aunt Rosemary Sparks of Lander; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews; and his dog, Bandit.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Jackie Sparks; uncles and aunts Dale and Grace James, Johnny and Evelyn Sparks, Butch Sparks; cousins Tommy Sparks, Alva "Tex" Knott and Bill Carlyle.
Memorials may be made to the Rusty Sparks Memorial Fund, c/o Central Bank and Trust, 285 Main St., Lander, WY 82520.
Arrangements are by Hudson's Funeral Home (www.Hudsons
FuneralHome.com) of Lander.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.