“There are many adjectives that come to mind when describing Mike. Enthusiastic teammate, generous, self-made, animated, larger than life but most of all—a great friend.”  – Jake Sieber

Michael Roy Sparks Sr., age 80, passed away on June 11, 2020 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He was a Chicagoland native and a graduate of York Community High School. He went on to become a prominent real-estate developer, an avid polo player and an exceptional fox hunter.

Michael was president and founder of Sparks & Associates, Inc., the industry leader in multi-family property development and corporate housing. Michael founded the 12 Oaks Polo Club and won the 1979 National Copper Cup®, 1981 Continental Cup and the 1982 Butler Handicap®, some of the United States Polo Association’s most prestigious trophies. Michael held a 3-goal handicap and played in various tournaments including the U.S. Open Polo Championship®.

In the January 14 - Sunshine League game between Barrington Hills and BellSouth Mobility, Mike Sparks hit the ball as both Robert Evans and Bart Evans look on.(43362) ©Museum of Polo web

Michael Sparks on the ball as both Robert and Bart Evans look on. ©Museum of Polo

“I am fortunate to have known ‘Sparky’ for over 40 years as a teammate and friend,” remarked John Sieber. “In polo he achieved what very few have and was regarded as ‘a players’ sponsor.’ Not only did he provide opportunities for many to participate, but at the same time was trusted to execute on the field by his teammates.”

Michael was preceded in death by his father Charles Roy Sparks, mother, Mary Walsh, and brother Charles Patrick Sparks. He is survived by his sister Geraldine Kosartes, and his five children; Michael Sparks Jr., William Sparks, Mary Kathryn Sparks, Caroline Paige Sparks, John Robert Sparks.

March 22 1981  Boca v. 12 Oaks Mike Sparks and John Oxley (42712) ©Museum of Polo web

Mike Sparks on the ball with John Oxley on defense in the early 80s. ©Museum of Polo

A Memorial Service will take place at St. James Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois on Saturday, July 11. Due to the guidelines for safe gatherings, the family will be reaching out privately with more information regarding the service.

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in honor of Michael Roy Sparks Sr. to the Museum of Polo, 9011 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, Florida 33467. Should you prefer to send flowers, please direct them to 175 South 31st Street, Boulder, Colorado 80305.

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