Cover photo for Edna Ruth Sparks's Obituary
Edna Ruth Sparks Profile Photo
1926 Edna 2021

Edna Ruth Sparks

November 6, 1926 — January 17, 2021

Edna Ruth Sparks passed away peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, January 17, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Her life will be celebrated in music and memories at a graveside service at Brown Ranch Cemetery in Coleman County on Saturday, January 23, 2021.  Visitation will begin at 2pm with a service at 3pm.  Dr. Robert Sloan will officiate. Services are entrusted to Stevens Funeral Home in Coleman.

Edna Sparks was born November 6, 1926 in her parents’ small home in Talpa, Texas. She was the second of four daughters born to Fred and Anna Simonton Sparks.

She grew up in Talpa and Coleman County, surrounded by a host of her Sparks and Simonton kin. The family moved to San Angelo when her father went to work for the power plant, and Edna graduated from Lake View High School in San Angelo.  After graduation, she went to work for George West Insurance, the only employee in that small insurance agency.  That experience, and the guidance of Mr. West, encouraged her to pursue a career in insurance, and in short order, she arrived at Brantley-Droughon Business College in Fort Worth studying for work in the insurance business.  Out of school, she was hired by H.G. Reinhackel at his agency in Austin, and he mentored her into a life-long career as an insurance underwriter.  She excelled in the business and was elected president of the Austin Chapter of the Texas Federation of Women in Insurance.

Church and music were a big part of her life, and she found a church home in Austin, Hyde Park Baptist Church, where she added her rich alto voice to the Hyde Park choir. She attended faithfully and sang in the choir for over 40 years.

Her family was important to her, and the proximity to Coleman meant she visited her parents and family whenever they gathered.  She rarely missed a Sparks or Simonton family reunion.

She worked in insurance for 42 years, surviving the sale of the insurance agency she dedicated her life to twice. After retirement, she volunteered at St. David’s Hospital in downtown Austin. She also traveled extensively, taking ocean cruises with friends from church, her family, and her cousin, Mary McClurg. Family history was important to Edna, just as it has been for many in her extended family, but Edna took it to a new level. Edna traveled with her cousin Mary exploring cemeteries and county courthouses in pursuit of information about their family ancestry. By proving her ancestry Edna gained membership in ten historical societies, including Colonial Dames, Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the Confederacy, The Society of 1812, and others.

Because of her work proving her lineage, and building on a foundation of work by her uncle Ray Sparks, the Sparks and Simonton families have learned details about 12 generations of ancestors, including: James Sparks, who served as a scout on the western frontier in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War;  Robert Keeling,  who furnished cattle to help feed Washington’s troops in that War for Independence; John Averitt, who served in the War of 1812; John Robert Keeling,  who served in Hood’s Texas Brigade during the Civil War; John Crumpler Averitt, a circuit-riding preacher who started Baptist churches throughout Texas and served on the committee that started Howard Payne College in Brownwood;  Moses and Richard Sparks, the father and son who came to Texas as Peter’s Colony settlers in Collin County.  She and Mary McClurg also discovered a 17th Century ancestor, a knighted governor of Virginia, Sir George Yeardley, who served as governor in 1626 and 1627.  Yeardley owned a Virginia Plantation where he built the first post mill in the New World, a monster of a wind-driven mill that ground wheat and corn.  Edna assisted Mary in convincing the Flowerdew Plantation Foundation to donate the replica of the Flowerdew Hundred Post Mill to the American Windmill Museum in Lubbock.

Edna is remembered by her nieces and nephews as the sophisticated businesswoman with a slight air of mystery who always dressed well, seemed to always have a new car, and always remembered birthdays with a little cash in the card. She sang alto when Gramps gathered the family at the piano for hymn singalongs, she was eager to vacation with her sisters’ families on road trips to far-off places, and she always, always came to family gatherings with a fresh hairdo and an updated tint to her bright red hair.

The Sparks and Simonton heritage will live on through the lives of the many families scattered throughout Texas and other parts of the country, but Edna is the last of the Fred Sparks family. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters, Mary Lou Fuller and her husband Roy, Fredalene Tapley and her husband Darrell, Helen Smith, and a young great-nephew, Ramey Compton.

Edna Sparks will be laid to rest at Brown Ranch Cemetery near Fisk, on land donated by her Great Grandparents James and Polly Moore.

Attendees are requested to be mindful of the Covi-19 pandemic and follow statewide protocols for wearing masks and social distancing.

Remembrances, condolences, and messages of comfort can be expressed to the family at  Stevens Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Edna Ruth Sparks.

Funerals are currently a public event being held during the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  When you attend a public event, you are acknowledging risk of exposure.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Edna Ruth Sparks, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 23, 2021

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Brown Ranch Cemetery

County Road, TX 76878

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

Brown Ranch Cemetery, Coleman County, Fisk, Texas

200 E College Ave, Coleman, TX 76834

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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