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Phyllis Jean Sparks passed away peacefully in her sleep on February 17, 2023. She was born in Chanute Kansas to Iona Fern (McKenzie) and Ralph Samuels and grew up in Chanute where she attended grade and high school. She was the majorette and president of the Chanute High School Drum Corps and worked at a drug store soda fountain. Phyllis began her secretarial career working at the Chanute Airport and continued secretarial work throughout her life, including work with RJ Reynolds, temporary secretarial agencies, Pembroke Hill and Roeland Park Community Center. She married William J. Sparks shortly after high school. Their wedding day was the same day Bill got his draft notice for the Korean War. They moved to California while he served in the Korean War. After the war, they moved to Manhattan, Kansas where Bill attended KSU and Phyllis became a secretary to several professors in the Agronomy Department. She became pregnant with their first child and her focus shifted to raising a family. They moved frequently and Phyllis made homes for their four children in Rocky Ford, Colorado, Hays, Kansas, Emporia, Kansas, St. Joseph, Missouri, Mission, Kansas & Fairway, Kansas. After divorcing in 1989, Phyllis continued living in Prairie Village Kansas, making life-long friends on the tennis court and at the bridge table. She will be remembered for her kind, gentle spirit while always paying attention to the small details.
Phyllis was blessed with four children who survive her: Kathryn Knopke (Don), Susan Burke (Terry), William Sparks, Jr. (Vicki), Samuel Sparks (Chris); 9 grandchildren: Jacob & Michael Knopke (Christina), Kayla Burke Wohletz (Adam), Jordan & Dylan Burke, Ashton Sparks, Courtney Sparks, Austin & Sophia Sparks; and 6 great grandchildren who affectionately called her Granny P. Phyllis also leaves a sister, Betty Archer.
She was a dedicated Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother and will be deeply missed by all who knew her.
Burial will be in Chanute Kansas at a later date.
Pam Sanders says
My deepest condolences to Phyllis’s family during this time. Your mom will truly be missed. Phyllis was one of the most kind and gentle people that I know. Phyllis will always be in our hearts and memories.