Noe Valley Voice June 2013

Jack Garvey

Our 98-Year-Old Neighbor

Jack Garvey was known for his friendly hellos along Church and 28th streets.   Photo courtesy Linda Ost

A fine Irish gentleman, Mr. John L. Garvey, who lived on 28th Street for several decades, has gone to meet his maker. Neighbors would be greeted by his kindly high-five and smile. When asked how he was doing, he would often say, “Well, you know, I have my aches and pains and this and that, but the good Lord has given us this lovely day, so I can’t complain.” He frequently said, ”Every day is a good day.”

Jack, as he preferred to be called, was born near Dublin, Ireland, and grew up with 10 siblings. He emigrated first to England, then to Canada, and finally to America. He was a machinist by trade, who retired from Caterpillar Corporation and then moved from San Diego to San Francisco. He survived his wife and daughter by many years.

Being such a friendly person, he had many good friends and neighbors who helped him as he aged. At the age of 97, he was still walking to do his errands and to attend St. Paul’s Church. He would sweep the front walk and then sit in front of the apartment house in the sun and visit with whoever walked by. His life stories were a pleasure to share and he would always ask, so what are you up to now? He liked seeing the neighborhood dogs and always had a little pat for them. He traveled to Ireland in August of last year; when he left to return home, the entire family was there to send him off. He was a strong man of faith, who lived his life in gratitude.

On April 27 at 4:30 a.m., he took his last breath and went home to be with his Lord and family. He lived 98 years and four months, each day being a positive person. We who knew and loved Jack will remember him, and we will put forth the optimism, gratitude, and love he showed us. The last thing he said to me was, “Tomorrow it will be better.” 

Linda Ost
28th Street