The children of Peter and Sally Jarvis have tried to look for silver linings in the week since their parents — a retired King County judge and a Bellevue College trustee — died in a head-on collision in Ketchum, Idaho.
They’ve found one: The couple, married for 60 years, died together.
“We couldn’t imagine either one preceding the other, and neither could they,” said son Scot Jarvis, who lives in Sammamish. “The fact that they went together is, really, very positive.”
Peter and Sally Jarvis, both 82, were driving on Highway 75 on May 29 when their Volvo crossed over the center-lane divider and struck a Toyota pickup, according to the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Jarvis, who was driving, was pronounced dead at the scene. Mrs. Jarvis was taken to a hospital, where she later died. The pickup driver, 34-year-old Piper Reed, was also killed, along with her golden retriever.
Reed had just finished training to be a firefighter, according to the Ketchum and Sun Valley Volunteer Firefighter Association, which wrote on its Facebook page that she was “a great young firefighter” and “we are devastated. No words can express our pain.”
The Jarvises were heading to a friend’s memorial service in Yakima when the crash occurred, less than a quarter-mile from their home. The family thinks Peter Jarvis had a medical emergency while he was driving.
Their deaths are being mourned in the Seattle area, where the Jarvises raised four children and were active in the legal and education communities. Friends and former colleagues recalled an active couple who were enjoying retirement.
“You can’t imagine a better life than they lived,” said Joseph Wesley, a former King County Superior Court judge who now lives in Chelan. “They had everything: friends, family, great health.”
Mr. Jarvis was a judge for 23 years, first serving in Issaquah District Court, and then King County Superior Court and Issaquah Municipal Court. He was named to the Superior Court bench in 1991 and became Issaquah’s first judge when its municipal court opened in 2005.
Before moving to a judgeship, he spent two years as a King County prosecuting attorney and 20 years in private practice in Seattle. His district court position was supposed to be temporary — there weren’t that many available judges in the area, Scot Jarvis said — but he liked being a judge so much it became his career.
Mrs. Jarvis was president of the UW Alumni Association in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and served as a Bellevue Community College — now Bellevue College — trustee from 1990 to 1999. She was an “extraordinary UW graduate” who was a significant leader in the community, said association Executive Director Paul Rucker. Both she and her husband graduated from the University of Washington in 1959, and she was going to help plan the 60th class reunion.
“I think of her as commanding a room, determined in her perspective, and a woman, in many ways, of a generation where that type of female leadership might not have been as welcomed,” Rucker said. “And she did it with fierce determination and grace and importance.”
Mr. Jarvis grew up in Seattle, attending Garfield High School. Mrs. Jarvis lived on Mercer Island and went to Bellevue High. They moved in 1972 to what is now Sammamish, where their kids grew up. They moved to Idaho in 2015.
In Sun Valley, they joined various foundations and boards, hiked and played pickleball. Both were accomplished downhill skiers; they each had skied 70 days over the past year, Scot Jarvis said.
“They were 82, and you would never guess it,” he said. “They knew how to keep themselves from aging.”
The couple are survived by their three sons, Scot, Dwight and Eric Jarvis, who all live in Sammamish; daughter, Molly Kimble, of Snoqualmie; and 12 grandchildren.
Services will be held at 3 p.m. June 24 at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, 3605 84th. Ave. N.E., Mercer Island.