The funeral for Brig. Felix Sparks was held on Oct. 2, 2007. (THE DENVER POST | JOHN PRIETO)


DENVER — Funeral services were held Tuesday for Felix Sparks, who as a 27-year-old lieutenant colonel, led the liberation of the main camp at Dachau, one of Hitler's infamous concentration camps, outside Munich.

In his postwar career, Sparks served as a Colorado district attorney, a Colorado Supreme Court justice, Colorado's natural resources director and as commanding general of the Colorado National Guard.

In 2001, at the dedication of the Colorado Army National Guard's new Centennial Armory in his honor, men who once called him a commander lauded Sparks.

"As I talk about Gen. Sparks, I describe him as the epitome of courage, compassion, leadership and command ability," said Van T. Barfoot, who earned the Medal of Honor

The casket of Felix Sparks is saluted Tuesday by a National Guard officer at the funeral for the brigadier general who led the Colorado National Guard until his retirement. (Post / John Prieto)
while under Sparks' command.

Sparks commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 157th Regiment of the 45th Division when it rolled into the Dachau area.

Sparks' troops were horrified when they discovered 39 rail cars full of 2,000 Holocaust victims, nude and gaunt from starvation.

In civilian life, he was director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

He was among those who helped create the systems of reservoirs, pipes and pumps that bring Western Slope water to the Front Range. He wrote Colorado's groundwater law and was an expert on the Fryingpan-Arkansas trans-mountain water-diversion project.

Before being on the Water Conservation Board, he was a Colorado Supreme Court Justice.

Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939