ALEXANDER CEMETERY, MAURY COUNTY TENNESSEE
Sparkman Grave Area
SPARKMAN, Thomas "Tom", 8 Dec 1927 - 14 Sep 2009. (Maury Co. native; son of Alexander Patton "Mr. L." Sparkman and Leonie Hardison Sparkman; grad. Columbia Central High School in 1945; Veteran U.S. Navy, WWII; recording engineer with Mercury and Columbia Records, worked at WKRM in Columbia, WSM in Nashville, he worked with Patti Page, Tammy Wynette, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Patsy Cline and young Reba McIntire to mention just a few; he received six gold and platinum albums for his work with the Statler Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bobby Vinton; mar. 57 yrs to Bettie Vernon Sparkman; preceded in death by brothers, Seth, Alex and Richard Sparkman, and sister Eula Bates Dale.)
Mr. Thomas "Tom" Sparkman, 81, recording engineer with Mercury and Columbia Records, died Monday, September 14, 2009 at his residence on Sixth Avenue.
Funeral services conducted at Oakes & Nichols with John Vaughan and Wendell Robinson officiating. Burial in Alexander Cemetery.
The Maury County native was the son of the late Alexander Patton "Mr. L." Sparkman and Leonie Hardison Sparkman and grew up in the Carter's Creek Community.
Upon graduation from Columbia Central High School in 1945 he entered David Lipscomb College. After just a semester, he joined the U. S. Navy, serving two years during World War II.
Following discharge, he completed another year of college at Peabody before leaving for New York City to study at the RCA Institute, a technical school for radio and television.
His career in radio began at a Fayetteville, North Carolina radio station but he was soon lured back to Columbia with a job offer at WKRM. His next position was at Nashville's WSM where he spent 10 years as a studio engineer and did sound for the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts before accepting a position with Columbia Records.
As a recording engineer he was "among the cream of the crop," as the artists with whom he worked and the awards he accumulated will attest. Patti Page, Tammy Wynette, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Patsy Cline, and a young Reba McIntire are just a few of the musical legends who depended upon his ears and instinct. He received six gold and platinum albums for his work with the Statler Brothers and a decade and a half of sessions with Jerry Lee Lewis. He also earned a gold record for his work with Bobby Vinton.
Mr. Sparkman was with the first group of country music artists to play Carnegie Hall. He engineered the sound for the show and considered this experience one of the highlights of his career. He retired from the music business in 1979 due to a hearing loss, but left with no regrets. Mr. Sparkman later confessed that he lived a life most people could only dream about. "No one has ever had more fun or a more interesting life that I have, because I got to work with some of the premier people of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s."
He was a member of the Maury County Horsemen's Association and Graymere Church of Christ.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Bettie Vernon Sparkman of Columbia; daughter, Mrs. Susan (Charlie) Ingram of Santa Fe; son, Pat (Marji) Sparkman of Riverside, California; grandchildren, Hunter (Marion) Ingram, Anna Ingram, Lindsey Sparkman Boyle, Matthew Sparkman, Sabrina Robertson; great-grandchildren, Taylor Kay Duran, Hailee Robertson; sister, Mrs. Dorothy Coley of LaFayette; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by brothers, Seth Sparkman, Alex Sparkman, and Richard Sparkman and sister, Eula Bates Dale.
Pallbearers will be Larry Dale, Bob Coley, Jim Coley, Hanes Sparkman, Lexie Sparkman, and Skip Sparkman.
Honorary pallbearers include members of the Williams & Riddle Bible Class at Graymere Church of Christ.
Photos & Info sent in by Mary B. McClain, 29 Sep 2009. Added here 30 sep 2009.
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