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Steve James Sparks, 64, a long-time area coach and educator, died on Saturday September 7, 2019 following several months of declining health.
Steve was born and raised in Calhoun Georgia. His parents, Barbara James Avery and Gordon Lee Avery preceded him in death. He played 4 years of high school football and wrestled 4 years at Calhoun High School. He also played 3 years of college football at Harding University and Livingston. While in college he married the love of his life, Susan Hudgens. After college, he began a coaching career spanning 41 years and 9 high schools in Georgia. Coach Sparks was a fierce competitor in his coaching career, but his devotion to coaching was far more than wins and losses. To Coach, the most important thing in life was winning the souls of others for the Lord. He was saved and baptized in 1973, as a freshman in college, and has been a faithful witness for the Gospel in word and in deed until the day he was called Home.
Steve was a prolific writer, as so many of his players and fellow coaches could attest. Coach sent words of encouragement and discipleship daily to his friends and family. Everyone that knew him saw the joy of Lord in his heart.
He loved his family dearly and was a wonderful husband of 44 years, brother, father, and “Poppa” to 3 grandchildren. He loved the Lord, the Word of God, and praising his Savior.
Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Susan Hudgens Sparks; his children, Andrew Steven Sparks and his wife, Leah, Melissa Sparks Duckett and her husband, Colby, and Abby Sparks Fowler and her husband, Chance; his grandchildren, Rawling Duckett, Maddox Duckett, and Charlotte Grace Sparks; his sister, Debbie Dodd; his father and mother-in-law, Rev. Robert and Marian Hudgens; his brother-in-law, Rev. Donnie Hudgens and his wife, Hope; nephews and nieces, Josh and Tina Hudgens, Matthew and Heather Hudgens, Hannah and Isaac Holbert, Steve Brock, and Candy Brock; great nieces and nephews and other relatives.
His family will receive friends on Sunday September 8, 2019 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Sonoraville Baptist Church. The funeral will be conducted on Monday September 9, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. from Sonoraville Baptist Church. Burial will follow the service at Fain Cemetery. Rev. Donnie Hudgens will officiate. Pallbearers are Blake Payne, Mark McGee, Matthew Hudgens, Josh Hudgens, Isaac Holbert, Steve Brock, and Stephen Stansell. Honorary pallbearers are the football coaching staff of Dalton High School and the football coaching staff of Christian Heritage High School, along with Glen Gibson. Steve’s body will lie in state at the church on Monday from 10:00 a.m. until the funeral service at 11:00 a.m.
For memorials the family suggests the athletic program at Christian Heritage High School, 1600 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dalton, GA 30721, or Grace Baptist Church, 1996 Cash Road, Calhoun, Georgia 30701.
Friends may sign the online guest register at www.maxbrannonandsons.com. Arrangements are under the care and direction of Max Brannon and Sons Funeral Home of Calhoun.