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 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
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
Served with honor, dispatched with glee
Married Faye Benfield
Mother of his children
Cottage Grove and Milwaukee, Oregon
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
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
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
Cheri, Jason, Christi, Tod, Tara,
Kristi, Brian, Kyla, Pablo, Jarrett, Mateo
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.
Please share your favorite stories of Dad
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
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John William Jarrett, please visit our floral store.
Hospice by the Bay - Sonoma
355 West Napa Street, Suite B, Sonoma CA 95476