Obituary: Sparks, professor, 78

Robert Sparks, Ph.D., professor, biomedical researcher and international consultant, died March 21, 2009, of acute leukemia. He was 78.

Born in Marshall, Mo., Sparks grew up in Independence, Mo., and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

He served at the Army Chemical Center in Edgewood, Md., during the Korean War and, in 1960, graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a doctorate in engineering.

After three years working for Exxon, he joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve University. In 1972, he became director of the Biological Transport Laboratory at Washington University.

He left Washington University in 1994 and founded Particle and Coating Technologies Inc., a St. Louis-based research and development company.

A lifelong lover of music and a talented tenor, he sang with the Handel Choir in Baltimore as well as the Cleveland Orchestra and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra choruses.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Adna Eitemiller Sparks; sons Christian and Mark of St. Louis and David of Denver; and two grandchildren, Luke and Tory of St. Louis.

Donations can be given to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Gateway Chapter, 77 Westport Plaza, Suite 101, St. Louis, Mo., 63146.