Barbara Ann (Huey) Sparkes

Barbara Ann (Huey) Sparkes

Barbara Ann (Huey) Sparkes, 87, Birmingham, Ala., died Sunday, March 31, 2013. Born on Jan. 24, 1926, in Indianapolis, to Helen and Gerald Huey.

Mrs. Sparkes was a piano and organ player with more than 60 years of professional experience. Her music focused on the great American Songbook. At 17, during WWII, she joined the USO Camp Shows as an accordionist, first traveling with a Tabloid Troupe across the U.S., then later to France and Germany. Mrs. Sparkes was the focus of the story “Two Suitcases and an Accordion: Traveling with the USO Camp Shows,” created and performed with Birmingham actress Dolores Hydock beginning in 2009. She moved to Birmingham in 2001. In 2002, she was a featured artist in a National Endowment for the Arts-funded performance of Birmingham’s best jazz pianists.

Mrs. Sparkes is survived by daughters Tabitha (Alex) Lacy, Birmingham, Ala., Tracy (Bobby) Chugani, Austin, Texas, Lisa Hiles, Bluffton, S.C.; sons Kent Hiles, Hartford City, Ind., Scott (Jennifer) Hiles, Bedford, Ind.; stepchildren Joan (Jim) Riley, Lighthouse Point, Fla., Julian Sparkes, Cabot, Ark., Kevin (Carol) Sparkes, Nampa, Idaho, and Pamela (Barry) Hofflander, Nampa, Idaho; grandchildren Alexis, Melanie, Evie, William, Shanon (Tia), Lance (Julie); and great-grandchildren Kynlee, Rylee, Sadie, Jude, Gabriella, Landon, and Danielle.

Mrs. Sparkes was preceded in death by her parents; husband Julian Sparkes; sister, Sue Huey Smith; children Marla Hiles, Lance Hiles, and Kelly Sparkes; stepdaughters Judy Kennady and Kathy Greene; and  grandchild, Ana-Kelly Jemison Lacy.

A celebration of Mrs. Sparkes life will be at 1:30 p.m., Saturday at Episcopal Place, 1112 26th Street South, Birmingham, Ala.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be sent to any cancer research organization, the Resident Relief Fund at Episcopal Place, Birmingham, or the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative, One Center Green – The Palladium, Carmel, IN 46032.