Our History

Sparks Funeral Home - 1951
This elegant home with its distinctive construction, traditional woodwork, and warm interior was built around 1901 by Mr. Reuben Mullins. The grounds had 21 maple trees, some of which are still standing, an orchard, a tennis court, and was considered to be one of Mt. Vernon's finest homes.

Robert Sparks, who worked for the W.J. Sparks quarry, moved into the home in 1908 and he and his wife, Lena Bentley Sparks, raised six children: Bentley, Harry, William J., Robert Sparks, Margaret Sparks Craig, and Elizabeth Sparks Williams. Harry Sparks was a former president of Murray State University. The Rockcastle Area Vocational School was named in Harry's honor.

Dowell & Martin Funeral Home - 1971
In 1951 Bentley Sparks and his son, Alfred and his wife, Eva Taylor Sparks, founded the Sparks Funeral home in this, their old home place. A new chapel addition was added in 1965 to accommodate larger gatherings. In 1969, the home was purchased by Billy Dowell and Roy Martin who, in addition to their funeral duties, operated an ambulance service until 1974 when the county of Rockcastle assumed all ambulance responsibility. A second chapel addition was added in 1995 to allow multiple services to be conducted as well as to increase the size of the old chapel.


Dowell & Martin Ambulance Service - 1972
In 2001 all interest in the funeral home was acquired by Roy Martin and his wife, Pamela Cummins Martin, and continues today as the Dowell & Martin funeral home. Mr. Martin is a native of Rockcastle County and is the son of Emory and Linda Martin. He is a graduate of the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science and has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 1967.

In addition to Mr. Martin, current staff includes:

Dowell & Martin Funeral Home -1979
Billy Dowell is a native of Rockcastle County and is the son of the late Will and Janie Dowell. He is a graduate of the Kentucky School of Embalming and has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 1961, as well as Rockcastle County Coroner since 1966.

Roy Stephen Martin is also a Rockcastle County native and is the son of Roy Martin and Judy Winstead Lawless. He is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and has been a licensed funeral director since 1997.


New Chapel Addition - 1995
Garry Hansel is also a native of Rockcastle County and is the son of the late William R. and Inez Hansel. He is a graduate of the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science and has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer since 1975.

The staff of Dowell & Martin Funeral Home have over 100 years of combined funeral service to the families of Rockcastle County proudly continuing a tradition of personal service as rich in heritage as this old home place.

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