John William Jarrett

February 10, 1928 ~ January 29, 2021 (age 92)


I stand upon the shore.

            A ship at my side spreads his sails to the morning breeze.

            And starts for the blue ocean.

            He is an object of beauty and strength.

            I stand and watch until he hangs like a cloud

            Just where the sea and sky come together

            Someone says: “There, he is gone”.


            “Gone where?”

            Gone from my sight, that is all.

            He is just as large in mast and hull and spar as when he left my side

            And he is just as able to bear the load of living freight to his destined port.

            His diminished size is in me, not him.


            And just when someone says “There, he is gone.”

            There are others watching him

            Taking up the glad shout

            “Here he comes!”


            John William Jarrett

            Born in Snoqualmie, Washington

            In 1928

            Raised in Western Washington

            Educated at Eastern Washington

            Son of the Depression. Scion of the Northwest.


            This is the beginning

            Almost anything can happen

            This is where you find

            The creation of light


            Joined the Navy out of high school 

            In 1946

            Served with honor, dispatched with glee

            Married Faye Benfield

            Mother of his children

            In 1952. 

            Instant Fatherhood.


            Cottage Grove and Milwaukee, Oregon

            Five children. 

            High school coach. Part time movie usher.

            Making ends meet.

            Between track meets.


            Long days into merry nights.

            Never too tired to play “Daddy can’t catch Me”

            Or race to the mailbox.

            And hide on the station wagon floorboards

            To enter the drive-in


            Publishing. An offer from McGraw Hill. 

            More money. Longer hours. Still education.

            Off to sunny California.

            Walnut Creek. Saratoga. St Louis? No, Santa Rosa.

            Family camping trips to DuBois resort

            Give way to business trips to New York


            This is the middle

            Things have had time to get complicated

            Nothing is simple anymore

            Cities have sprouted up by the rivers and creeks

            Of his childhood.


            So much is crowded in the middle

            Noisy parties, lakeside kisses, arguments heard through a wall

            Too much to name

            Happy memories


            Children marry, grandchildren arrive.

            Around the Bend, back to Oregon.

            Retirement. A new family.

            Charlie, Michele, Will and Emma.

            On my way to see you again Tyler.

            Fishing. Bike Riding. Tennis. Golf.

            Now a man of means, by all means.

            King of the Road.


            Winds change. Oregon ices over. 

            Back to California 

            In 2018.

            With his children. 

            Sunrise. In Sonoma.


            This is the end.

            The river runs into the sea.

            The bike path dips to the Sunset.

            The publisher closes his book.

            The wheelchair sits empty.


            Bill Jarrett passed away peacefully

            On January 29, 2021

            In the loving embrace of his family

            His life was a blessing.

            He leaves his children

            Jeryl Gerhardt, Denise Cutbirth, 

            Michelle Jarrett Skaff, James William Jarrett

            Predeceased by his daughter Alyson Roberts

            Thirteen grandchildren.

           Cheri, Jason, Christi, Tod, Tara, 

           Kristi, Brian, Kyla, Pablo, Jarrett, Mateo

            Nine great-grandchildrem


            We carry your heart with us.

            We carry it in our hearts.

            We are never without it

            Anywhere we go.


            People always think happiness is a far away thing.

            Something complicated and hard to get.

            Yet what little things can make it up.


            A place of shelter in the rain.

            A warm cup of coffee when you’re blue.

            A book to read when you’re alone.

            Or just to be with someone you love.

            Bill Jarrett was a kind and loving man. 

            He brought happiness and warmth into our world.


           We love you Dad, now and forever more


*With thanks to the poetry by Henry Van Dyke, Billy Collins and T.S. Eliot; words of wisdom by young Francie Nolan in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; and lyrics from Roger Miller’s King of the Road, some of Bill’s favorites and Dan Skaff who put these emotions to paper.


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In lieu of flowers the family prefers donations to Hospice by the Bay in celebration of his life and in honor of the incredible team… Tina, Phil, Edwige, Paula, Keara, Corby and Esther






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