Van Buren Councilman Darral Sparkman, a retired Fort School School District teacher, passed away on Oct. 14. He was 77.
Sparkman had served on the city council since 2014.
A lifelong resident of Van Buren, he spent many of those years helping the community and for 33 years Sparkman taught for the Fort Smith School District, once earning the title as a district Teacher of the Year. He attended college at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, and he had served in the Arkansas National Guard.
"I’m very saddened by the passing of Council Member Sparkman," said Van Buren Mayor Joe Hurst. "He was one of the kindest people you will ever meet. Council Member Sparkman was focused on improving this community while serving on the city council."
Along with his work in Fort Smith schools, Sparkman was the owner of D&S Specialties in Van Buren, specializing in concrete and brickwork. "I will always remember the stories he would tell me about how he helped build sidewalks all over the city during the summers in-between being a school teacher. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time," said Hurst.
Sparkman is survived by his wife of 56 years, Sandra Sparkman. He will be laid to rest at Gracelawn Cemetery Arbor in Van Buren on Oct. 17. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Almost Home Shelter.