Dawn Jarvis

Obituary of Dawn Virginia Jarvis

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Dawn Virginia Jarvis, 56, of Chapel Hill, NC died on February 24, 2023, of complications from surgery.


Born in Lenoir, NC in 1966, Dawn spent her years defying expectations. As a young girl, she demanded pants instead of dresses, convinced her parents to buy her a minibike without ever having driven one, and aspired to be the next Steve Martin. After having a baby in high school, she graduated near the top of her class at Hibriten and excelled in band, becoming an accomplished saxophonist. While raising her daughter as a single parent, Dawn completed her associate’s degree in opticianry at Durham Technical Community College in 1986. She spent nearly two decades as a licensed optician before becoming the Operations Manager at Ocutech, a low-vision technology company in Chapel Hill.  


Whether Dawn was hosting a crowded Thanksgiving dinner or standing in the checkout line at Harris Teeter, she built community as a quintessential extrovert. Despite setbacks in her life, she continued to make people laugh again and again and again. (She was arguably funnier than Steve Martin, especially when she pretended to speak Klingon to her grandchildren.) A champion of underdogs, she helped rescue many kinds of creatures: people who needed a friend, shelter pups, and turtles crossing the road, among others. Dawn had a fierce sense of what was right and the courage to act upon it.


She is survived by her loving, devoted wife, Kaye de Kruif; her ever-grateful daughter, Lauren Jarvis; her favorite son-in-law, Al Duncan; and her cherished grandsons Alexander Charles and Dashiell McRae Jarvis-Duncan, all of Chapel Hill, NC. She is also survived by her dear sisters and nephews: Donna Jarvis of Glen Allen, VA; Kathryn Jarvis (Greg Propp) of Afton, VA; Kimberly Jarvis (James Greene) of Lenoir, NC; and Jarvis and Tyler Greene (as well as their families) of Edgefield, SC and Collettsville, NC, respectively. There are also too many other much-loved relatives, friends, co-workers, and former patients to count.


Dawn was predeceased by her beloved parents, Charles and Virginia Jarvis.


Dawn’s family is making plans for a celebration of life in March 2023. If you are not on social media and would like more details or if you would like to leave a private message for Dawn’s family, you may reach out at dvjmemorial@gmail.com.


In lieu of flowers, Dawn’s family asks that you make donations to the Durham Tech Foundation, Helen Keller International, or the National Audubon Society.


Walkers Funeral Home in Chapel Hill is assisting the family.



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