Richard A. ‘Sparky’ Adams

Aug. 26, 1930 – April 22, 2010


Richard A. ‘Sparky’ Adams of Eagle passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 22, 2010, at Harbor House in Fond du Lac. He was 79 years old.

Sparky was born in Kimberly on Aug. 26, 1930, the son of Albert and Viola (nee Erickson) Adams.

He graduated from Kimberly High School in 1948. After graduation, he enlisted with the U.S. Coast Guard and served until 1951. He then attended Lawrence University in Appleton, where he also played football; Southern University, Baton Rouge, La.; the University of Wisconsin-Madison and several other schools before graduating with an education degree from the University of South Dakota.

On Aug. 1, 1969, he married Inge E. Kautz in Vermillion, S.D.

Sparky’s football coaching career lead him to many high schools, starting in Iron Mountain, Mich., and then to Arrowhead. He was then hired as part-time personnel by Gil Brandt of the Dallas Cowboys. He then moved on to high schools in Oconto Falls and Baraboo. Moving to the college ranks, he coached at Drake University before becoming head football coach at Chadron State, Neb., for five years. During that time, he compiled a 31-17 record. He was well-known for his passinggame strategies and was a tireless recruiter. After his tenure at Chadron State, he was the head football coach at Bemidji State in Minnesota and Dubuque University in Iowa.

Until retiring in the late 1990s, Sparky was a high school activities director and principal at Wisconsin high schools, which included Unity High School in Balsam Lake and Pittsville High School. He also helped coach football at Carroll College for four years and at Lawrence one year before becoming a full-time fan. In the spring of 2001, Sparky was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. That fall, he was inducted into the Chadron State Athletic Hall of Fame.

Sparky’s overall coaching record, being an assistant and head coach, was 182-128-7.

He was also a member of Lodge #218 F & AM in Crivitz, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry 32 Degree in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Phi Delta fraternity, and Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Mukwonago.

Survivors include his wife, Inge; children, Linda (Paul) Hawn and David (Kari) Adams; grandchildren, Gavin and Sawyer Adams; a sister, Patricia (Robert) Shugars; his father-in-law, Albert Kautz; a brother-in-law, Gary (Beth) Kautz; his former spouse, Lillian Adams; other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Allan Adams; two sisters, Betty Ramsay and Grace Adams; and his mother-in-law, Ella Kautz.

Visitation will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1, until the time of an 11 a.m. funeral service, all at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 211 Main St., Mukwonago. The Rev. Suellen Myers will officiate. Burial will follow at Oak Knoll Cemetery, Mukwonago.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the family for a memorial to be set at a later date are appreciated.

Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral and Cremation Services, Mukwonago, is serving the family. For any other information, please call 363-7126, or visit online at www.schmidtandbartelt.com.