Katharine Marie (Mabry) Sparks

November 4, 1930 ~ November 27, 2020 (age 90)


Katharine Marie Sparks, 90, of Carterville, passed away  peacefully on Friday, November 27, 2020, at the Anchor in Marion.

Due to Covid restrictions, private family services will be held at Riggin-Pillatsch & Burke Funeral Home in Carterville, with Pastors Larry Gilbert and Art Mize officiating.  Burial will be in North Oakwood Cemetery in Carterville. 

Memorial contributions can be made to Carterville First United Methodist Church or to Gum Drops. 

Katharine was born November 4, 1930, in West Frankfort, to Thomas Earl and Katharine Marie (Browder) Mabry.  She married John Raymond Sparks on February 5, 1949, in Piggott, Arkansas. He preceded her in death on April 19, 2003. 

She is survived by her daughters, Linda (Norris Red”) Reed of Johnston City, Sharon (David) Hock of Herrin and Doris A. (Mike) Kiesling of Carterville; son, Michael Sparks (Chasity Winters) of Energy,  brother, Bill Mabry of West Frankfort; grandchildren, John Reed (Stephanie Price) of Johnston City, Holly (Chad) Burks of Herrin, Olin (Stephanie) Sparks of Clarksville, Tennessee, Eric (Alexis) Sparks of Carterville, Megan Kiesling of Herrin, Meredith (Joe) Wild of Carterville, Emma (Bryan) Brown of Troy, Jordan Kiesling (fiancé, Taylor Nugent) of Carterville, and Robyn Henricks of Herrin; great-grandchildren, Bryndle Burks, Kayelee (Drew) Pettit, Taylor Chaney (Wade Rea), Ashlee (Jacob) Meadows, Jessica (Devon) Morris, Maggie and Isabel Wild, Jaxton Burks, Dakoda, Noah and Evie Sparks, Bradyn, Bryson and Piper Elizabeth Reed, Lahna and Isla Pettit, Gabe and Elliot Morris, and Ashlynn Rea.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, John; infant daughter, Brenda Sue Sparks; granddaughter, Amy Chaney; sisters, Mary Edna Vise and Margaret Louise Lamb; and brothers, Paul, Kenneth, LeRoy, and Virgil Mabry.

Katharine retired in 1996, after 28 years as the secretary at Carterville High School. Her work at the high school was more than a job, it was her mission.  Katharine will be remembered as an icon of the Carterville High School.  Her kindness and genuine compassion for others has left a lasting effect on many.  Students who “visited” the principal’s office might remember “the look” she often gave.  She had a compassion for all students and staff alike.  Every day was a fresh start for all.   She would go out of her way to learn about each person and offer any assistance she could.  The advice she gave to her office workers had a lifelong impact on many.  Student, staff and administrators would come and go but Katharine was the constant reminder of the quality of CCHS.

As a faithful member of Carterville First United Methodist Church she served in various roles in her 50 year membership.  She lived her faith daily in service to others by example and deed.  Scripture was her guide to life.  As a Christian she sought to lead others to Jesus.  Serving Him was her life’s work. Making sure her family knew the real joy of Christian service was her mission.  She will be missed by many, but her legacy lives on.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Katharine Marie (Mabry) Sparks, please visit our floral store.


Private Services


Gum Drops
PO Box 228, Carterville IL 62918

First United Methodist Church-Carterville
301 Pine Street, Carterville IL 62918
Tel: 1-618-985-4511

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