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Chris Jarvi

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Chris Jarvi Obituary
August 23, 1944 - April 22, 2013
Christopher Kent Jarvi, 68, died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Anaheim Hills, CA, on Monday, April 22nd. Chris was born in Corvallis, Oregon; the son of Simeri Jarvi and Mary Davis Jarvi. His father, a career forester, instilled in Chris the love of nature and belief in stewardship of natural resources. Chris graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona, in Ornamental Horticulture/Park Administration. After a stint in the Air Force he obtained his masters in Environmental Horticulture at UC Davis. He could name most plants by both their common and Latin names. It was at Cal Poly that Chris met, fell in love with and married Sylvia Walker. Their strong bond lasted 46 years. They had two sons, David and Erik. Sylvia was the only known human who could successfully manage his irrepressible enthusiasm. Chris' work career began as a management trainee with Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, advancing to Head Park Planner where he administered capital project planning, design, and construction for the department. He was a planner for the Catalina Island Conservancy. In 1979 he was lured to the City of Anaheim, where he worked for 22 years, first as Park Superintendent and later Director of Community Services. During this time, he supervised parks, golf course maintenance, and library and recreation services. He viewed his job as building a stronger community rather than simply delivering service. Jarvi was active in his professional community. He was elected president of both the California Parks and Recreation Society, and later the National Recreation and Park Association. He served on the Board of the League of California Cities representing parks and recreation agencies throughout the state. At his passing he was Board Chairman of the Foundation for Sustainable Parks and Recreation, and was on the boards of the National Recreation and Park Foundation, the Anaheim Public Library Foundation and the Orange County Great Park Agricultural Advisory Council. During his career he received many awards for public service. They included the prestigious Cornelius Amory Pugsley Award from the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration [AAPRA] given for lifetime public service in parks, recreation and conservation. He received many other national and state awards and recognition. He was most proud of being named a fellow of the AAPRA whose membership represents the top 125 professionals in the nation. He chaired the AAPRA's Gold Medal Award Program and served on their Pugsley Award Committee. He was sought after for his public speaking and spoke often with humor and insight. Following his retirement from the City of Anaheim in 2003 Chris was appointed to be an Associate Director of the National Park Service (NPS) in Washington, DC. During his six years with the NPS, he was responsible for Partnerships and Visitor Experience. This included national responsibility for partnerships and philanthropy, interpretation/ education, volunteerism, tourism, youth programs, long distance trails, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. He retired from the NPS in 2010. When Chris and Sylvia returned to Anaheim, they enjoyed a view from their backyard of one of the parks he had been responsible for developing. He enjoyed golf, fishing, hunting and actively participating in city boards and commissions. His anthem was "Happy Boy" by the Beat Farmers. He exulted in his Finnish heritage and stayed in contact with relatives in Finland. He was a great fisherman and seemed to be able to catch fish anyplace he wet a line. His fishing trips with his brothers were special to him. He enjoyed warm and long lasting friendships with family, professional associates and sports companions. Chris is survived by wife Sylvia, son David [Julie] Jarvi, grandchildren Coleman and Megan, sister Joellen Jarvi, brothers Ted [Leslie], and Robin [Diane]. He was predeceased by son, Erik.
Memorial services will be held at the Anaheim Hills Country Club, at 3:00 pm, May 9, 2013. At his request, the Foundation for Sustainable Parks and Recreation established the Christopher K. Jarvi Partnership Scholarship Program. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to this Program (www.yourparksyourlegacy.com), to the Anaheim Community Foundation or to the Anaheim Public Library Foundation.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on May 5, 2013
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