Rolland Frank Sparks, age 79, passed away peacefully and quietly at home on the evening of April 18, 2020 after a 55 year long battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
Rolland was born on April 24,1940 in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was the oldest son of Frank and Ethel Wilcock Sparks.
He and his wife, Agnes Wagner, were married in The Salt Lake City Temple on April 2, 1971. Within a year, they moved into their home in Granite, Utah where they raised their four children: Charles, Kirsten, Brian, and Andrea. Rolland had much love for the area and his many friends of the Little Cottonwood and Granite Wards.
Rolland was a man of endless talents and multifaceted abilities. Among many things, he was an incredible and accomplished painter, and his oil paintings hang throughout the family home. He was continually working on carpentry and home maintenance projects for the house and the yard.
In his youth, Rolland was enthusiastic about the outdoors. He was active in scouting with his father and brother, was an Eagle Scout, and was an avid hiker, skier, and cyclist. Climbing the Grand Teton in Wyoming shortly after graduating from the graphic design program at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College was a highlight of his life.
In later years, Rolland loved spending time at the family cabin in Island Park, Idaho. He was able to visit every summer, including his last in 2019. Many of his landscape and wildlife oil paintings are of the area and nearby Yellowstone National Park.
He was an avid astronomer and had a lifelong interest in the sciences, which he shared with his family, and, at one time, even built his own telescope.
Rolland spent 30 years in a wheelchair, 12 of which he continued to work full-time in the graphics department at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he spent the vast majority of his career as a graphic artist.
Throughout his illness, Rolland never complained about his physical limitations. He was a constant example of perseverance and an inspiration to those around him. His undying sense of humor and positive attitude in even the toughest of times lifted and cheered everyone he met.
“The philosophy which I have developed,” Rolland once said, “states that ‘life is a gift and we must live it to the fullest extent of our ability to do so. Don’t stop living until you’re done breathing.’”
Though they will miss him dearly, his family rejoices that he is no longer suffering from the debilitating illness that limited him so severely for so many years. They find comfort and peace knowing he is now free and able to enjoy that which he was no longer able to in this life, and that he is reunited with those who have gone before. His family looks forward to the day of happy reunions yet to come.
Rolland is survived by his wife Agnes, his children Charles (Kristy), Kirsten, Brian (McKay), and Andrea (Sean) and eight grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Ethel (Wilcock) Sparks, and his brother Reed Sparks.
Graveside services will be held April 25, 2020 in Granite, Utah. A memorial service will be held at a later date when his many friends and family are able to gather and celebrate his memory.
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