By Philippe Djegal - email
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - His death was sudden and tragic. On Thursday, 47-year old Bill Sparkman died in his sleep. He was a 31-year veteran of the Chapel Hill Fire Department, now survived by his teenage son and daughter.
Earlier this morning, firefighters from across East Texas, family and friends mourned his loss in sorrow.
"A radio in hand. The deep sound of his voice. The love of the firefighters, EMT's and medics on the scene," said Cody Crawford, Chief of the Chapel Hill Fire Department. "The sympathy for the one's who had just lost - he cared for each and everyone he met. . . make room for us my friend; we'll see you soon."
"He spent 10 years of service as a paramedic with East Texas Medical Center, and for several years now has been the owner and operator of the Auto Mall here in Tyler," said Pastor Neal Thurman. "Bill's real passion though. . . was his place in the Chapel Hill Volunteer Fire Department."
"Responding to a call was his life, his love and his dedication to all," said Crawford. "Fires, accidents, medical calls, bad weather - it really didn't matter. Anytime there was a need, is where he and the firefighters would gather."
Dispatch then called for roll call and proclaimed that "it is with great regret that we announce the passing of Chapel Hill Fire Department Firefighter Bill Sparkman. Roll call has been taken and firefighter Bill Sparkman has failed to enter. The bell has been struck for his last alarm. May the sun shine upon his path. May the wind always be at his back. May the lord hold him in the palm of his hand, until we meet again. Smith county dispatch clear."
Mister Sparkman's cause of death has yet to be determined. But, according to the Chapel Hill Fire Department, Sparkman did have a history of heart problems.