Jack Westley Jarvis, Jr., 69, of Saluda passed away Wednesday, September 23rd at Universal Health and Rehab.
Jack was preceded in death by his father, Jack Westley Jarvis Sr.
He is survived by his mother, Carrie Lee Ball and her husband Chuck Ball; his sisters, Lin Collins and Brenda Jarvis; his brother, Frank Jarvis and his wife Kate; his wife of 41 years, Sherry Jarvis; his son, Jacob Jarvis; his daughter, Jessica Cleland and her husband Chris; and last but not least, his four beautiful granddaughters that were the joy of his life: Kaylee, Mya, Cora, and Vera.
To know Jack was to know his contagious laugh, thirst for adventure and exploring, his can-do attitude, and his enormous heart. His smiling face was framed by his signature mustache, his helping hand reaching out from his ever-present pocket tee. The toughest people in the world stretch themselves as far as they will go, not for their own well-being, but for the people they care about, and that was Jack to a T. He had the sheer will, determination, and grit of several men.
Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1951, Jack was second in a family of 4 siblings. He grew up around cars and inherited his dad’s love for building and fixing things. You may have found him repairing his siblings’ or neighbors’ bikes, listening to music, building model cars, or making everyone else in the room laugh. Early on it was clear he was a talented artist.
The family eventually settled in South Florida where Jack graduated from Seacrest High School in Delray Beach. Life at the beach in the 70s was surfing, loud and fast cars, mastering his painting skills, and making homemade bell bottoms. While working on his cars he would also take up teaching at South Technical School in Boynton Beach, passing his already vast knowledge on to another generation of mechanics.
In 1979, he met the love of his life Sherry, and it was an instant connection. “When you know, you know,” Jack said. Just 3 months later, they married and enjoyed 41 years of adventure together. Not long after they married, they moved from Boca Raton, Florida to Hendersonville, NC. The weekend Jack and Sherry moved to the mountains; Mother Nature greeted them with a snowstorm.
Jack’s love for painting and creating led him to a profession in auto body and custom paintwork. He dreamed of owning his own shop, and before long, he built and launched his own business – Jbodys Custom Auto Body. Over the course of his career, he built countless hot rods that were nothing short of works of art. His work garnered the respect of many in the industry, landing one of his creations on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine.
Thousands of cars passed through his shop, and he took immense pride in his work. “As long as it’s perfect” was a saying heard often within those walls. He earned the respect of many and seemed to know everyone. His family has fond memories of each simple errand taking 3 times as long because he stopped to talk and catch up with everyone he recognized.
After his son Jacob and daughter Jessica were born, he added the title of toymaker to his resume. Not a single Christmas or birthday went by without a handmade toy from Dad. He had a knack for restoration; everything old was made new again in that shop, including vintage electric toy cars, furniture, and even one or two fishponds. He poured so much love into his projects for his children. Jack made sure to share his trade and zest for life with Jacob and Jessica who both inherited his love for building, creating, painting, and exploring.
Jack’s love for the outdoors and adventure led him to purchase land in Saluda, NC where he and Sherry built their dream home atop a ridge with a beautiful view of the mountains. He spent years developing the land by building trails, bridges, a boat dock, and a white sand beach just for his love, Sherry. His pride for their land showed, and he was most at home atop that mountain with his family.
Jack’s philosophy was that you should not arrive at the grave in a well-preserved body. Rather you should slide in at full speed with a smile on your face screaming “WHAT A RIDE!”
Jack’s family would love for you to honor him in any of the following ways:
● Explore someplace new
● Have a heart-to-heart with someone you love
● Practice your dance moves
● Turn the music up, put the windows down and go for a ride
● Build something with your own two hands
● Root for the underdog
● Get up early, and watch the sunrise
● In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Automotive Program at Blue Ridge Community College in his honor.
A small graveside service will be held for family and close friends on Friday, October 2, 2020, at 1:00 PM at Saluda Cemetery.