Larry Spakes

Larry David Spakes

1947 - 2018

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Obituary of Larry Spakes

Larry David Spakes, age 71, passed away at his home in Hanna City, Illinois, on Saturday, December 1, 2018.  Larry was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to David Cash & Thelma Dean Spakes. They both preceded him in death.  Larry was an only child.


Surviving are his wife of 31 years, Janice Spakes; 3 sons, Ryan Spakes (Michelle) of Lexa, Arkansas, Bryan King of Hanna City Illinois, and Dustin King (Shaunta’) of Hanna City Illinois; 2 daughters, Krista Sells (Steve) of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, & Kyla Smith (Randy) of Lexa, Arkansas; bonus son, Brian Ward; 12 grandchildren & 5 great-grandchildren.


He also leaves behind special family, Andy & Evelyn Coats, Mark & Gail Harris, cousins, nieces, nephews, a host of friends, a special friend who introduced him to Janice, Judy Norwood Tipton, and a lifelong friend for over 65 years, Uncle Bob Robbins.


Larry attended Warren High School & as often as he could, he would travel to Warren for the Annual Tomato Festival to enjoy his love of music & to celebrate with a host of friendships from the graduating class of 1964.  After high school, Larry attended Henderson State College where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Education.  From there, Larry continued his education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where he obtained his Ph.D. in Art Media.


Larry taught high school art classes for a few years before moving to Helena, Arkansas, to take a position with Phillips County Community College as an art professor for over 18 years. He will be remembered for his many artistic contributions to the Helena West Helena community.


After his teaching career, Larry & his wife, Janice, started their own business, Country Connections & Spakes Sign Service.  He poured his heart into their family business where he taught all of his children many trades & they were able to witness all of his many talents.  Alongside him for nearly 20 years at the sign company were his daughter, Kyla & her husband Randy, who now own The Sign Shop in West Helena.


Larry was the lover of the blues & he loved to country dance.  Some of his most favorite memories were dancing with so many in the community, supporting & enjoying the annual King Biscuit Blues Festival, a place that his talent was appreciated & admired by so many.  Larry was an amazing, talented & respected artist.


After retiring in 2014, Larry & Janice moved to Illinois to be with their youngest son & his family. Retirement brought more time for he & Janice’s beloved motorcycle rides that brought more memories as they traveled all over the US.  


Larry was a husband, father, uncle, teacher & friend. But of all of his titles, Papaw was his most cherished. He loved his family deeply. He would proudly brag about any & all of his kids & grandkids at every given opportunity. Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed.


A celebration of life will be held at 4th St., Baptist Church in West Helena on Saturday, December 8, at 11 AM with Pastor Jason Jordan officiating.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: