Gary Sparks was born in Murphy, North Carolina. He lived most of his early years east of the Mississippi River, graduating from high school in Jasper, Alabama.
Sparks moved to Sand Springs, Oklahoma, in 1960 to work on the Keystone Dam. During that summer he met a young man attending Oklahoma State University who was majoring in Architecture. When Sparks saw this student’s work, he knew that he wanted to become an architect and Oklahoma State University was where he would go to get his degree.
After graduation and marriage, Sparks was drafted into the Army for two years. After an honorable discharge, he returned to Tulsa to join his wife Jerri and begin his architectural career. Ten years later, in 1978, he opened his own firm and designed several significant buildings, focusing on projects that enhanced peoples’ minds, body, and spirit. Creating structures with a focus on education, healthcare, sports, and faith, the company won multiple awards. His most treasured, personal recognition was being nominated by his daughter, Jill Selman, and inducted into the Oklahoma State University Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010.