Karns community mourns the death of beloved barber Clark ‘Sparky’ Walker


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Karns community is mourning the loss of one of their own. Clark Walker was a well known and beloved barber for 60 years. His sudden passing — and now the closure of his barbershop — is leaving a empty space in the hearts of those who knew him.

Freeman “Clark” Walker was a pillar in the Karns community. He was born and raised in Karns and raised his own family there. Through his barbershop, he developed many relationships over the years.

“You mention Karns Barber Shop, everybody knew Clark ‘Sparky’ Walker,” Martha Walker, Clark’s wife of 63 years, said.

Clark is described as a quiet but commanding presence. His kindness usually did most of the talking for him. His friends and family have years worth of stories that show how giving he was.

“There was one year with the football players, the coach sent him out to the shop, and he cut everyone of them’s hair and didn’t charge them a dime,” Martha said.

Mark Cawood has stories too. He’d been a client of Clark’s since he was around the age of three.

“I’m gonna miss this place, I’m really gonna miss this place. I don’t know where I’m gonna get my hair cut now. I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid and I don’t know. Karns is not going to be the same,” Cawood said.

The staple of Clark’s shop was his favorite barber chair. He purchased it when he purchased his first barbershop and kept the same one throughout the duration of his business.

“I’ve sat in this chair since I was three or four years old,” Cawood said.

Clark had a triple bypass in October of 2020. He passed away on Jan. 19 due to complications from that surgery. He was 83.

“He lived for this barbershop. He really did. He loved the people that came in it and they had some good talks here,” Martha said.

He was a member of Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church and of Beaver Ridge Lodge No. 366. Family and friends will assemble for graveside service and inurnment at 11:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 23 at Oak Ridge Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to: Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church, 7753 Oak Ridge Hwy., Knoxville, TN 37931.

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