Coralee Sparkman, wife of broadcaster Ernest Sparkman, passed away Sunday, Oct. 28 at the Greg and Noreen Wells Hospice Care Center after a short illness. She was part-owner of WSGS in Hazard.
Sparkman began working for the senior citizens program in 1967, and in 1972 started the Senior Citizen’s Radio Day, an annual fundraiser that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the senior citizens of Hazard and Perry County. Rocky Hudson, chairman of the program, said of Sparkman, “[She] was one of the most elegant and beautiful ladies … she inspired me greatly. She will be missed in Hazard and Perry County … I loved her so very much.”
In addition to her work with senior citizens, Coralee worked at radio stations in Ashland and Whitesburg alongside her husband, Ernest. Originally from Knott County, Sparkman and her husband were married in 1947 and spent the majority of their lives in Hazard. She loved working at the radio station and used her position there to promote the two causes she was passionate about: senior citizens and the hospice program in Hazard. She was devoted to her family and a woman of great faith.
Coralee is survived by two sons, Faron and Shane Sparkman, both of Hazard; three grandsons, Wesley Graham of Fargo, North Dakota, Cedric Warner of Brooklyn, New York, and Corey Shane of Lexington; one great-granddaughter, Medora June and another great-grandchild due shortly. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ernest, in 2010, and daughter-in-law, Linda, in 2011.
Coralee had fallen a few weeks ago just outside her home. She was 81 years old.
Visitation will be held at New Hope Christian Center from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31 with a memorial service at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Greg and Noreen Wells Hospice Care Center or the Hazard-Perry County Senior Citizens Program.