Martha Dougharty Sparks, 80, of Beaumont, Texas, finally ceased badgering her alleged sons on what they should do with their lives on April 2, 2023. To make sure things were complicated, she died in Houston, Texas at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, forcing her two sons to pay for her to have an understandably awkward Uber ride back to her home in Beaumont. But Martha didn’t go without a fight—nor without full make-up and bright-red lipstick.
A final gathering for creditors to meet our friends and confirm we don’t have any money left will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday, April 10, 2023, at Claybar Kelley – Watkins Funeral Home in Beaumont.
A celebration of Martha’s life and COVID-jamboree will be held at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church in Beaumont. Yes, Martha was Catholic but, as with any long relationship, it’s complicated.
Following the service, guests and process servers are invited to attend what is sure to be a great party at the home of her alleged son, Mark Sparks, at 3985 North St. in Beaumont. Anyone wearing a wire is asked to stay 1,000 feet away from Mark so there are no more “misunderstandings.”
Born on August 20, 1942, in Beaumont, Texas, Martha was the favorite (and also least favorite since she was the only one) daughter of Denton Dougharty and Katherine Dougharty. Growing up, Martha claimed to have an imaginary friend named Gimble whom she would “push” in the swing. Psychiatrists in the 1950’s, in between cigarettes and more cigarettes, quickly determined through leeches and electric shock therapy that Gimble wasn’t real, and then informed Martha she really had no friends at all. Undeterred, Martha found her soon-to-be husband, James “Jimmy” Sparks, Jr., whom those same psychiatrists, in between even more cigarettes, fortunately confirmed was indeed real, but insane. Ever the optimist, Martha chose the actually insane over the imaginarily mundane, and married Jimmy. Martha worked hard to put Jimmy through law school, then later worked less hard as a homemaker for a few years until her lackluster children were born, whereupon she quickly, and quite reasonably, lost interest in parenting. Martha, completely unqualified for the job, became a bail bondsman where she did her part to make sure soon-to-be felons remained at large while awaiting trial. You’re welcome, Beaumont.
Martha’s hat selection often betrayed her mood—when she wore them, she was certifiably crazy. Martha was a staunch defender of animals and animal rights, loving all creatures big and small and, to a considerably lesser extent, also loving her two boys that continued to pester her for attention and an occasional, microwaved meal. Martha was an ally and advocate for LGBTQ, believing that all were created equal in love and life. She faithfully supported the Wounded Warriors Project as well as Meals On Wheels, regularly donating the tens of dollars she managed to save by using coupons at Kohls. Martha donated much of her time to delivering meals for Meals On Wheels—and she did it in a black, convertible sports car. With her fierce attitude, red lipstick, and inability to drive the speed limit, she and her sports car are sure to be missed by most of the traffic cops in town. Martha regularly got speeding tickets—once getting two tickets from the same cop at the same location in the same day. These were clearly political arrests, but her liberal agenda only blossomed.
Martha managed to put up with this Earth longer than her parents, Denton and Katherine Dougharty, as well as her off-again / off-again husband, James Sparks, Jr.
Those left to cherish her memory and inherit her expired Kohl’s coupons include her son Jimmy Sparks and wife Kristen; and other son Mark Sparks and former partner Johnny Nguyen. Martha thought her two kids were okay, but her favorite child, her dog, was Kaiser. Kaiser stands to inherit the vast estate of expired Kohl’s coupons along with various weird things she found at estate sales (which will now, once again, be sold at another estate sale—circle of life). She is also survived by her grandchildren, Jacoby Wilcox and Timothy Wilcox and his wife Samantha; great-grandchildren, Karrson and Greyson; cousin, Dana Bartholomew and husband Bart and their child, Kate Bartholomew of Dallas; cousin, Sarah McHaney and husband Gordon and their children, Spencer, Moris, and Morgan of Austin; cousin, Steven Dougharty and wife Mary Anne; cousin, Dana Bedicheck Work and husband Scott and their children, David and Ethan of Houston; cousin, Terry Sparks and partner Bill Wills, and Terry’s son Christopher Sparks and his wife Elizabeth.
Martha had countless friends, some of whom were not even imaginary. Martha’s friends include, S.L. Greenberg and his late wife Natalie; Judge Larry Thorne and his wife Margaret; Dr. Alfred Brady and wife Roseanne; Julie Stewart and the late Ron Stewart; Lisa Chapman; Celia Crittenden; Daryl Ferguson; Ann Winslow; Shirley Laine and her late husband Hal; David Mayer and his late mother Sue; Gretchen Hargroder and her team including Heather and Caitlyn; Debbie Adams; Donna Schraeder; Tricia Shockley Williams; and Suella Thorne; along with numerous names I’m sure we missed. But the apple of Martha’s eye was Will Abshier (the son she always wanted but never had) and his husband Chris Gonzalez. Will and Martha developed a very close and loving relationship. Martha loved Will without reservation, without judgment, without hesitation, and without qualification. Martha insisted Will was like a son to her, and took him in as one. That’s okay, because Martha’s two boys insisted she was almost like a mother to them.
In a totally passive-aggressive move, Martha’s ne’er-do-well sons booked an overly large venue to make it look like no one showed up to her funeral. Some flowers are welcome to dull the blow of that emptiness, but if charity is your gig (and it is tax season), then the family suggests skewing toward Martha’s causes: The Humane Society, Wounded Warriors, Southeast Texas Food Bank, or Human Rights Watch.
In memory of Martha, the Sparks family asks that you put on your hat, your makeup (man or woman—it’s all good), some Rolling Stones, and then say something weird that pops into your hat-laden head. Then, love life, love others, and love without judgment. Live and love like Martha did. And remember that you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.
For those who can’t be there in person to marvel at Martha’s beauty, please click the link below to watch the live stream.
Meeting ID: 830 0650 8226