Kenneth Conrad Sparks, of Cazenovia, passed away peacefully on Feb. 8, 2017, at the New York State Veterans Home in Oxford, N.Y., at the age of 92. Born Jan. 2, 1925, in Pittsburgh, PA., to parents Harold and Ruth Conrad Sparks, he graduated from Oneida High School in 1942. Ken joined the Navy in January, 1943 and, after basic training at Sampson Fire School, he served aboard the battleship USS New York until 1946, participating in both Iwo Jima and Okinawa battles. While home on leave in November 1945, he met Barbara Moyer of Sherrill at the Shady Grill Restaurant, and on Dec. 28, 1946, they married at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Oneida. They just celebrated their 70th anniversary.
After several years as a salesman and living in DeWitt, Oneida, and New City, he moved the family to Cazenovia after buying Wilcox Paper Company in Syracuse, from which he retired in 1990, and is still run by sons, David and Brian.
Ken was a member of American Legion Post 88 in Cazenovia, and a former member of the Cazenovia Golf Club. He was a former President of both the Allied Paper Salesman Association and Empire State Paper Association, a charter member of CAVAC, and former Vestryman and Usher at St. Peters Episcopal Church. He and Barbara hosted five USS New York reunions and attended many more with shipmates and families, becoming their extended family.
Ken and Barbara visited all 50 states, their favorite Hawaii seven times, Europe and many Caribbean Islands.
He is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Harold Jr., and Harry, and by a son, Ralph.
He is survived by his wife Barbara; sons, Warren, David (PJ) and Brian (Christine); daughter-in-law, Elise, all of Cazenovia; grandsons, Douglas, Jason, Erich, Andrew and Ben; great-granddaughter, Keagan; great-grandson Trevor and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, April 22, at St. Peters Episcopal Church, 10 Mill St. Cazenovia, with a reception to follow at American Legion Post 88, 26 Chenango St., Cazenovia.
His remains will be interred in St. Peter’s Columbarium. Donations in his memory will be greatly appreciated to American Legion Post 88, Box 263, Cazenovia 13035.
To leave a message of sympathy for the Sparks family, please visit michaelebrownfuneralservices.com.
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