Originally published in the July 2006 edition of the Membership Newsletter (No.40)
Ron Jarvis 19XX-2006
Ron passed away early this year. Dick Hartnup, Doug Carroll and I attended a gathering in Kendal in his memory in early March. When he retired from the Soil Survey of England and Wales in November 1984 after 32 years work as a soil surveyor, a short account of his work appeared in Profile, the SSEW house magazine, which I have used as the starting point for this note.
Ron, a native of Darlington, first showed his love of outdoor life by walking and cycling in the northern Pennines. After serving in the Royal Artillery in India, he read Geography at King’s College, Newcastle. There he met his wife, Mary, who was already on the staff of the department. After a short spell with a County Planning Department, he joined the Scottish Soil Survey in 1952 and thus has the unique distinction of producing a Memoir for both Surveys.
Ron moved south in 1956 to the Reading centre where he remained for ten years, producing the Reading memoir and training several surveyors for home and overseas work including his namesake Mike Jarvis, whom Rothamsted allotted to him in the sure foreknowledge that their mail would be henceforth ever mis-directed. He transferred to Leeds and in the mic-1960’s re-organisation became Regional Officer for Northern England. Under his guidance there came a steady flow of Records culmination in the Northern England National Soil Map Much to his disgust, as recorded in internal letters to Rothamsted, Lancashire was included in the Midlands and not in its proper place in Northern England.
He will be missed for his quiet humour, consideration and common sense as much as for the quality of his writing, the breadth of his knowledge and the scope of his many international contacts. His flair of languages, particularly Spanish, and interest in geology and archaeology were developed further in his retirement. My over-riding memory of visits to Ron (and Mary, to whom he was devoted) in their adopted home of Kendal was their map of the Lake District on which were drawn all the walks that they had made together since 1984. It was a veritable spider’s web and criss-crossing lines.
Ron delivered the newsletters for his local resident’s group in Kendal, helped in working parties, continued to walk the fells ager Mary died, played table tennis, went to the local Spanish speaking circle and was a member of many local societies. He died peacefully after a short illness on his return from a holiday in Mexico in January. A calm, quiet person, he was always ready to help. “The best neighbour I’ve ever had” was one person’s comment at his memorial.
Provided by Ian Bradley