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Bob Sparks

Thursday, January 26, 2023
Bob Sparks

Robert (Bob) Allen Sparks died Jan. 19, 2023, at home surrounded by the family he loved.

A family graveside service at Laurel Land in Dallas will be held Friday, Jan. 27. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 27 at First United Methodist Church, Cleburne, which will be livestreamed via the church’s Facebook page, A reception will follow.

The son of Charles and Katherine Sparks, he was born in Dallas on Aug. 18, 1946. Through the years, the Sparks Family called many Texas towns home including Alvarado, Hamilton and Highland Park.

Robert attended Hamilton and Highland Park high schools and graduated from HPHS in 1964. At the University of Michigan, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering in 1968 and met his wife of almost 55 years, Janet Kay Sparks, marrying her on May 4, 1968, only one week after their college graduation. The couple lived in Dallas as Bob joined Texas Instruments working on the FLIR radar system, and Janet began her career in elementary education.

While working at Texas Instruments, Bob earned an MBA (1971) and JD (1975) at Southern Methodist University. Upon completion of law school, he clerked for the Honorable Clarence Guittard, Texas 10th Court of Civil Appeals. The couple lived for a short while in Little Rock, Arkansas, before relocating to Cleburne in 1977 to establish Bob’s law practice. Their family grew to three members with the birth of their daughter, Robyn Ann Veal in 1978 (married to David and the mother of Sumner, Sawyer and Audrey).

Bob’s law career spanned 40 years through which his practice responded to the changing needs of his client base. From bankruptcy law representing creditors to contract law involving negotiations with natural gas exploration firms, Bob’s ability to synthesize the legal, technical and commercial aspects of his clients’ concerns earned their trust and his legal community’s respect.

His presence was a familiar one around the square in Cleburne, whether at his office on Caddo Street or in the halls of Johnson County Courthouse.

Bob was an active member of the Johnson County Bar Association as well as the Texas Bar Association. For the Texas Bar, he served on several committees, most significantly the Law Practice Management committee. In this capacity and in his own practice, he enjoyed utilizing his training as an industrial engineer to develop and improve law office management processes. He found great joy in leveraging technology where possible including file management and storage, client relationship management and time management systems.

Through the years, in addition to his legal practice, Bob owned and managed with Janet multiple small business ventures in Johnson County. Whether it was Pack-N-Mail in downtown Cleburne, a car wash in Burleson or rental property and mini-storage in various locations, the Sparks Family could always be found putting in the sweat equity the businesses required. Bob and Janet always included Robyn in their ventures, and she learned through her parents’ modeling what it meant to be entrepreneurial. Bob was dedicated to the economic flourishing of Cleburne and served on the Cleburne Economic Development Foundation including two terms as foundation president.

Bob and Janet were members of the First United Methodist Church of Cleburne for over 40 years before transferring their membership to Oak Hill United Methodist Church after relocating to Austin.

One of their true joys as a couple was having the opportunity to live next door to Robyn and her family and to also have Bob’s sister, Patty Howarth and her husband John, live right around the corner. Being a next-door neighbor to his grandchildren brought Bob incredible joy, and he was very proud of each of them. His personality lives on in Sumner’s logic, Sawyer’s ingenuity and Audrey’s gift for observation.

In addition to his daughter Robyn and son-in-law David and his grandchildren Sumner, Sawyer and Audrey, Bob is survived by his wife, Janet; his sister Patty Howarth (John) of Austin; and his first cousin, Marilyn Murphy of Tyler. Bob also was close to his two brothers-in-law, Jim Hart of Perrysburg, Ohio, and Raymond (Phyllis, deceased) Green of Arlington Heights, Illinois, and was a dear uncle to Charles (Kristin, Beckett and Matthew) Green of Oak Park, Illinois, Christopher (Bonnie, Hadley, Hudson, Sebastian and Naomi) Green of Oxford, Mississippi, James R. Hart (deceased) and Emily Hart (Jay Rawding) of Waterloo, Ontario. Bob was blessed with an extended family including cousins and cousins-in-law whom he loved dearly.

The family suggests memorials to Solace & Sage of Dripping Springs (https://solaceandsage. org), and Meals on Wheels of North Central Texas ( Please include a note stating, “In Memory of Robert Allen Sparks.” Donations are welcome online.