Russell J. Sparks, 88, of Oskaloosa, died Tuesday, June 28, 2022, at the Northern Mahaska Nursing and Rehab Center in Oskaloosa. He was born May 3, 1934, in Beacon, Iowa, the son of Russell Alexander and Rita Malin Sparks. As a young man Russell learned he was a talented plaster and drywall craftsman. On April 18, 1953, he was united in marriage to Marie Yeo in Oskaloosa. He owned and operated Sparks Drywall in Oskaloosa for over 30 years. After selling his business he became interested in real estate, thus prompting him to get his real estate license and work as a realtor and property manager for Hawkeye Real Estate in Oskaloosa. He enjoyed over 25 years of helping the people of Oskaloosa and the surrounding area with their real estate needs. He cherished the relationships he made with clients that he worked with over the years. Russell was a very involved citizen in Oskaloosa. He believed in pitching in and helping when he could. He served on the City Council and helped count ballots for many years. He was also very involved with the Holiday Meal Program in Oskaloosa and various other organizations. His desire to serve was strongest towards serving the Lord. He was a devoted member of the Nazarene Church in Oskaloosa. He served on the Board for many years and as a Sunday School Teacher, Choir Member, Caravan Leader, Youth Group Volunteer, Usher, Treasurer, Janitor, and about every job he was needed for, including after retirement, he helped clean the church on Mondays. He was very involved in the building of the Oskaloosa Church of the Nazarene that was located on South 11th Street in Oskaloosa, from planning to driving nails to the dedication service, Russell was there to see the project through to completion.
Russell’s surviving family includes his wife of 70 years Marie Sparks of Oskaloosa; two children and their spouses, Loretta and Geron Knox of Olathe, Kansas and Tim and Pamela Sparks of Oskaloosa; a son in law, Dan Arnold of Council Bluffs; eight grandchildren, Holly (Justin) Koons, Heidi (Terry) Holmes, Hilary (Bryan) Holmes, Lindsey Knox, Brendon Knox, Heather (Ben) Doak, Amanda (Tim) Drost, Eric Brummer; twenty four great grandchildren; a brother and his wife, Jeffrey and Wendy Bracy of New Sharon; and many nieces and nephews.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents, a daughter, Leslie Arnold; a granddaughter, Breanna Brummer; two sisters, Peggy Comstock and Marilyn Burch; and two brothers, Denny Sparks and Johnny Sparks.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 7, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. in the Gateway Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa with Reverends Dan Arnold and Darren Melton officiating. Burial will be in the Forest Cemetery in Oskaloosa. The Bates Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. Visitation with the family present will be held on Thursday, July 7, 2022, in the Gateway Church of the Nazarene from 9:30 a.m. until service time at 11:00. Memorials may be made to Oskaloosa Church of the Nazarene.