Virginia Elaine Stewart Jarvis

Date of Birth

February 19, 1933

Date of Death

May 31, 2021

Virginia Elaine Stewart Jarvis, beloved mom and dear friend passed away at age 88 in the comfort  of her home in Santa Barbara on May 31, 2021.  

Born in Stockton, California to Harry and Alyce Stewart on February 19th, 1933, Virginia was  raised in Danville, California where she helped to run the family business, The San Ramon Valley  Lumber Company.  

An important part of her adolescence was the study of the violin from which evolved a lifelong  love of classical music.  

Virginia’s education was shaped by attending San Domenico School in San Rafael, California,  where she made lifelong friends and later Stanford University where she graduated with degrees  in Speech and Drama.  

She married Charles Henry Jarvis and together they moved to Santa Barbara in 1958 to start their  family while Charles practiced law at Schramm & Raddue and later at Jarvis, Hartloff and Simon. 

Bright, strong, kind, stubborn, opinionated, creative, patient, conservative and open minded,  Virginia could be a force as quiet and powerful as the tides. From her parents she inherited a love  of people and her distinctive business sense, which blended astuteness and resourcefulness with  fairness and a nurturing quality. Her ownership for many years of a small plaza in Sacramento was  motivated as much by a desire to give family businesses a helpful push as it was by the modest  profits that resulted.  

She also keenly watched the markets and invested wisely. But she would say that her greatest  investments were always her children, Cynthia and Dow; and her numerous friends to whom she  loved to offer guidance, or lend an ear.   A voracious reader, her book collection was as much about  the books she loved as it was about the books she hoped to share. An enthusiastic planner and  organizer of extended family trips, she was also something of a cat whisperer, turning a succession  of shy felines into outgoing and gregarious extroverts. 

Affliction seemed only to make her spirit stronger, intensifying her curiosity, empathy with others  and love of life.  After the tragic loss of her daughter Cynthia, in December of 1993, Virginia carried  on a deep connection to Cynthia’s friends and pursuits, creating an endowment for dance students  

at the University of Georgia at Athens. For many years, Virginia purposefully kept her advanced  stage of emphysema at bay through diligent adherence to a series of dietary and health practices;  for she simply had no time to surrender to a disease when there were so many things to  accomplish, books to read, friends (young and old) to appreciate and projects to start. Ever the  daughter of a lumber yard owner, she lived her life to build with quality and character. Her light  continues in those lucky enough to have been graced by her friendship and love.  

A celebration of Virginia will follow. For information, please contact In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Direct Relief


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