Karen Jarvis

Karen Jarvis

1948 - 2021

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Obituary of Karen Jarvis

On April 2nd, 2021, Karen Kristina Jarvis, loving wife and mother of 3, passed away after a long battle with cancer. She was born Karen Kristina Jansen on March 30th, 1948 in Pennsylvania to parents Luther and Inez (Keister) Jansen. Not long after she was born, her family moved to the Seattle area where she continued to live until she passed in 2021 in University Place, WA.


She married, had a daughter, Kristina, and was widowed as a young woman before going back to Central Washington University to get her bachelor's degree. She worked as a librarian in a residential school for people with developmental disabilities where she met her husband. She married Laurent Jarvis on September 21st, 1985 and together they cared for Kristina and two more daughters, Amy and Jessica. Karen taught Life Skills in a middle school for 10 years before she found her true passion, being a storyteller for the Pierce County Library System. When the time came, she retired to help care for and enjoy her grandchildren.


Karen's love of music was infectious, having grown up in a house full of music, and she was often heard playing the piano and/or singing. In her teens and young adulthood, she enjoyed playing the clarinet and she continued spreading joy through music throughout her life by playing keys and singing backup in different bands with Laurent. She prided herself on her kindness, empathy, and openness and those will be some of her most missed qualities. She was a great community member and truly believed in working towards equity for all people. 


Karen is survived by brothers David and Theo, sisters Luanne, Julianne, and Tracie, husband Laurent, daughters Kristina, Amy, and Jessica, grandchildren Henry, Arthur, and Poppy, and many brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and nieces and nephews. 


Karen's family will be celebrating her life on Saturday April 17th at the home she shared with her husband in small groups due to COVID-19.