Ben Sparks III

Ben Sparks III, BSCE, P.E., age 68, passed away suddenly on Aug. 31, 2013, at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis. He was a resident of Brown County, Ind., and a former resident of West Bend.

Ben was born in Norfolk, Va., on June 12, 1945, to the late Ben and Leora (Dungan) Sparks Jr. He was a 1963 graduate of Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga., and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue University in 1969. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity there. Ben married his wife of 43 years, Karen (Krone) Sparks on Feb. 14, 1970, in Chesterton, Ind.

Together they raised two children: Jane (Andrew) Sparks Ziegwied of Portland, Ore., and Charles Benson Sparks of Milwaukee. Three brothers also survive Ben: John Sparks of Bloomington, Ind., Tony Sparks of Huntsville, Ala., and Tim Sparks of Brown County, Ind. He had two grandchildren: Darya and Gustin Ziegwied, both of Portland, Ore.

Ben was a retired engineer who worked for several companies, including Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company, Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, Universal Foods Corporation and Sensient Flavors. He was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, and the ASCE. He and his wife sailed more than 10,000 miles while living aboard their ketch “Hove Two,” taking it from St. Louis, out to the Great Lakes and then south to the Bahamas, before they started their family.

Ben enjoyed riding his BMW motorcycle, and was a member of the Port Washington BMW Club, Hoosier Beemer’s BMW Motorcycle Club, BMW MOA, and the Iron Butt Association for long-distance endurance riding. This spring, he completed a Coast-to-Coast ride, qualifying in less than 50 hours, fulfilling a long-held dream.

Ben was also interested in woodworking, stone sculpting and blacksmithing, and was a fan of the Green Bay Packers football team.

Ben’s family carried out his wishes to be cremated. Friends and family are gathering to celebrate his life on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the former Possum Trot Winery in Brown County, Ind. Cremation services were entrusted to Meredith — Clark Funeral Home Cremation & Personalization Center in Morgantown.

Memorial contributions may be sent in honor of Ben to the Brown County Historical Association “Building Fund” P.O. Box 668 Nashville, IN 47448.

Condolences to the Sparks family can be made at