Cover photo for The Reverend James Leslie Sparks's Obituary
The Reverend James Leslie Sparks Profile Photo
1946 Jim 2023

The Reverend James Leslie Sparks

June 19, 1946 — December 21, 2023

Battle Creek

The Reverend James Leslie Sparks passed from this life into the next on Thursday morning, December 21, 2023.

Jim was born in New Albany, Indiana on June 19, 1946, the youngest of Howard Homer and Fern Ellen (Werts) Sparks.  He graduated in the 1964 class of New Albany High School and attended Indiana University, Warner Pacific College (Portland, OR), and graduated with a BA from Anderson (Indiana) University in 1969.  Jim earned a Masters degree in counseling from Olivet Nazarene University, having taken post-graduate studies at Anderson (Indiana) School of Theology, Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI), and Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI).

On August 23, 1969 Jim married Susan Meeks of Indianapolis, who stood by his side in every storm.  He was ordained into Christian ministry on September 12, 1972 by the Indiana Assembly of the Church of God (Anderson, IN).  Together they served as pastors of congregations in Indiana and Michigan.  After retirement from pastoral ministry in 2013, Jim served several congregations as an Interim Pastor and then became Church Health Minister for the Church of God in Michigan.  He worked with several Battle Creek funeral homes, serving Battle Creek families during their time of bereavement.

Jim always loved horses, and had 35 throughout his adult life, usually one or two at a time.  He was an avid reader, including the Bible, history theology, and biographies.

Jim is survived by his wife of 54 years, Susan; an older sister, Reta (David) Thorn of Gastonia, NC;  his niece, Elizabeth Hamilton; his great-niece & nephew, Catherine & William Hamilton, all of California; and adopted sisters, Mary Hirakis and Trudy Cathcart, both of Battle Creek.  He is also survived by a family friend, Randi Rudynski of Tyner, IN; and her children, Dakota (Jo) Rudynski, Kolton (Colleen) Rudynski, and Savannah (Michael) Stephens, all of Tyner, IN; and her grandchildren: Beau, Oaklynn, Jace Rudynski, and Hayes Michael Stephens.  Jim was preceded in death by his parents and all other close relatives.

At Jim’s request, cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Jim’s Life will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday January 6, 2024 at the North Avenue Church of God, 1079 North Ave. Battle Creek, MI 49017 where the family will receive friends from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., Saturday.   The service will be livestreamed and may be viewed at  https://northave.online.church or https://www.youtube.com/@northavenue2883. lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Camp Challenge 8914 U.S. Hwy 50, Bedford, IN 47421.  Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek.  Personal messages for the family and favorite memories of Jim may be placed here at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.

 

The family has created a wonderful slideshow of memories and it may be viewed here at https://vimeo.com/899399108.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Saturday, January 6, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

North Avenue Church of God

1079 North Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

North Avenue Church of God

1079 North Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017

Saturday January 6, 2024 Times to be announced

Get Directions

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