TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

September 17, 2009

Sparkman ‘victim of apparent crime’

As long-sought career begins, it comes to an end for Laurel man

By Carl Keith Greene / Staff Writer

“He loved the kids and always had a smile,” said Gilbert Acciardo, family resource director at Laurel County’s Johnson Elementary School.

William E. Sparkman, Jr. was a substitute teacher in Laurel County schools and also a field representative for the U.S. Census Bureau.

He was found dead Saturday in southern Clay County.

Census Bureau Executive Director Dr. Robert Groves notified census employees of the incident by e-mail Wednesday morning.

He wrote, Sparkman “was the victim of an apparent crime and passed away this past weekend at the age of 51.” He added, “I wanted all Census Bureau staff to know of this incident, and ask you to keep Mr. Sparkman’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Sparkman’s body was reportedly found at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday in a wooded area near Hoskins Cemetery, about 18 miles south of Manchester.

Police are releasing no details on the manner of Sparkman’s death.

According to Clay County Chief Deputy Sheriff Gary Harris, the area in which the body was found, on Arnett’s Fork, is near Double Creek off KY 66. He described it as sparsely populated.

According to Clay County Coroner James Trosper, the body was sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.

Acciardo called Sparkman “a very conscientious employee who worked in the after-school day care programs at Bush and Camp Ground schools,” as well as Johnson.

It was Johnson Elementary where he began his quest for a bachelor’ degree in mathematics education, which he was awarded in 2007.

He told a reporter in a March 2008 Times-Tribune story that he became involved with Johnson school when his son, now 19, attended there. His son could pass tests easily, but struggled with assignments, Sparkman had said.

So Sparkman decided to volunteer in the classroom and eventually was hired as a teaching assistant. He later became a substitute teacher for the school system.

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