|Birth: ||Jan. 1, 1900|
|Death: ||Nov. 10, 2003|
He lost his lower left leg loading a log truck 74 years ago, so Claude Jarvis tossed aside his pole-ax, became a truck mechanic and hung on to catch thousands of fish. He will celebrate his 100th birthday on New Year's Day. The tall, lean, smiling former chief Lucky Lager beer truck mechanic said, "My health is good. I feel good. It's just that I've lost most of my eyesight." Saturday, in his Hazel Dell home, friends will throw Jarvis a potluck celebrating his first century of life. The celebration will be in the house Jarvis built in 1934 for $1,560. Guests will receive a 50-page biography of Jarvis put together by his grandchildren, Bob Wood and Sue Kozlowski, with help from their friend, Nancy Stout.
"It'll be fun to see everybody," the mild mannered fisherman said, leaning on a walker to show visitors around his house. Jolene, his toy poodle, followed him closely. If it weren't for glaucoma striking him three years ago, Jarvis said, he'd still be driving his camper rig east and north to the headwaters of the Columbia River to fish for rainbow trout and steelhead up near the Canadian line. Instead, near blindness forced him to quit driving when he was 97. That was 64 years after he stepped down from a truck driver's seat in 1932 to take up his true calling as a mechanic for Hop Gold, later called the Lucky Lager Brewery in downtown Vancouver. Immediately, he made big money: $7.75 a day. "We worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for a year until we got those trucks in tune," he said recently. "Then we went fishing most of the time after that, and it went on for 20 years." He and his team kept Lucky's truck running for 27 years until he retired in 1965.
For 33 years after that retirement, he fished. And he made daily trips to Hi School Pharmacy for a coffee klatsch where he swapped fishing lies with friends. With failing vision, at 98, Jarvis changed pace again. He and his daughter-in-law, Gerry Jarvis, and his housekeeper, Mary Wygal, set up a tape recorder in his workshop where his tools line the wall. Now, most of the time, he and Jolene listen to country music, mysteries and Louis L'Amour tales of the Old West.
Born at Jumpoff Joe Lake near Chewelah, Wash., about 20 miles from Colville, Jarvis outlived eight brothers and sisters, his wife Reta, and daughter, Molly.
Why did he live so long? "Well, I was the runt of the family," he said, "and when I was 13, they thought I ahd TB because I had five aunts who died of it. So they took me out of school and sent me to live with my old great uncle Jim Jarvis. He was a hermit up in the Coeur d'Alene, in Idaho, at Cotaldo Mission. "He liked being alone and he wasn't very happy to see me," Jarvis recalled. But young Claude recovered on the timber and mining claim fly fishing 25 miles of the pristine white pine-lined Little North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River all by himself, setting a lifetime pattern of landing rainbow after rainbow and cut-throat trout.
His secret for long life? "I tell people I only drink the best whiskey," he said with a laugh. "I got a quart of whiskey there in the kitchen and it might sit there for five years. That's about it. That's about all I can say, other than that I always lived to fish and hunt: deer, bear, birds.
Besides Gerry, his son Gene, and his grandchildren Bob and Sue, all spend time with him. "He's just so easy to take care of. He never complains. He's a lovely man." His shop ceiling is lined with hanging fishing poles and lures. "That's only a few of them," he said. "Since I stopped fishing, [I've had my] son and grandson help themselves."
What's been the best thing about his life? "Fishing," he says, without hesitation. "But I don't get out so much anymore. I get out some, but not a lot since I lost my eyesight and my equilibrium isn't so good."
Francis Marion Jarvis (1865 - 1948)
Mary Jane Bennett Jarvis (1864 - 1920)
Reta Jane Seward Jarvis (1899 - 1988)
Mary Jane Jarvis Wood (1923 - 1998)*
Gene Claude Jarvis (1927 - 2004)*
John Washington Jarvis (1884 - 1908)*
Claude Walter Jarvis (1900 - 2003)
Evergreen Memorial Gardens
Plot: Garden of Devotion, Lot 356, Space 1
Created by: Nancy Stout
Record added: Sep 17, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 97290692