Clifton Edward Sparkman, 92, was born Jan. 4, 1924 to C.E. (Clifton) and Ethel Miller Sparkman in the Bone Cave community of Van Buren County. The fourth of six children, he grew up on a farm that had the long heritage of an early pioneering family with influence in the center of the community. Young Edward was known to have played and camped with his brothers in the Big Bone Cave as a youngster, attended local schools and eventually worked driving the school bus to Spencer, served his country in the U.S. Army, and had the blessing of marrying the love of his life, the former Miss Wilma Ruth Mooneyham.
Edward and Ruth became known to all in Rock Island as they resided there together for more than seven decades. He was an avid cattleman through the years, and assisted Ruth with their Sparkman Travel Agency in McMinnville. With that business, he eventually traveled to all seven continents, after finding himself actually standing in Antarctica. He shared his stories of travel with many neighbors, yet always loved home in Tennessee best.
He made McMinnville’s First United Methodist Church his home congregation. He was always interested in Warren County’s growth and sense of community. Throughout his days, friends, family, and strangers all knew of his unfaltering sense of humor and ready grin. He would find a silver lining within most situations, and was beloved in his family.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth Sparkman of Rock Island, and his only sister, Lois Sparkman Cummings of Atlanta, Ga. He will also be missed by his three nieces, Glenda Sparkman Busenlehner (Ron) of Birmingham, Ala., Ann Cummings Mosier of Atlanta, and Winette Sparkman Jeffery (Tom) of Williamsburg, Va.; and his one nephew, Robert “Bobby” Sparkman of Nashville. He is fondly remembered by his four great-nephews and one great-niece, two great-great-nieces and two great-great-nephews.
A graveside service and interment will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 18, at Mt. View Cemetery with Bro. James Johnson officiating. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday at High’s.
High Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.