April 5, 2018
Whole Number 55
JOHN W. SPARKS AWARDED LEGION OF MERIT
On the cover of this issue of the Quarterly appears a photograph of one of our most honored members, Chaplain (Colonel) John W. Sparks, taken on April 28, 1966. On that date, retiring after twenty-three years' service in the United States Army, Colonel Sparks was awarded the Legion of Merit. Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Dunn, Fourth Army Commanding General, pinned the medal on the uniform of Colonel Sparks at a ceremony at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.
Six weeks following his retirement from the Army, Colonel Sparks was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. As Moderator, Colonel Sparks presides over the sessions of the Assembly, and serves as the highest elected leader of the denomination for the ensuing year. The following sketch of the Colonel's career appeared in the June 21, 1966, issue of The Cumberland Presbyterian:
"The new moderator was born in Washita County, Oklahoma., in 1911. Graduating from high school in Rocky, Oklahoma., he attended Bethel College, McKenzie, Tenn., and received the BA degree in 1939. He attended the Cumberland Presbyterian Seminary and also Vanderbilt Divinity School, from which he received the BD degree in 1942. He is married to the former Jacqueline Hays of Hopkinsville, KY, and they are parents of two children: one married daughter, Mrs. Alice Johansson of Seattle, Wash., and a son, Jon Walter, a junior in high school. His 23 years in the chaplaincy has carried him to posts of service throughout the world. Among his posts of foreign service as Japan. Following his election as moderator, Rev, Thomas Forester, the retiring moderator, who was a missionary in Japan, spoke movingly of Chaplain Sparks' ministry to them as missionaries. 'This fellow has meant a lot to many of us,' Mr. Forester said, and 'I gladly turn over the gavel to him.' "