Lakeview first grade teacher, Mrs. Jarvie, remembered.

April 22, 2020

Cindy Jarvie with her grandchildren.

Lakeview first grade teacher, Mrs. Jarvie, remembered.

Oriole News is a presentation of Ludington Area Schools in collaboration with Mason County Press. 

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, Staff Writer.

LUDINGTON –  Ludington Area Schools teacher Cindy Jarvie passed away Monday, April 20, surrounded by her family. Jarvie, who taught at Lakeview Elementary School, had decided to retire the end of this school year. 

“The cancer came before (her decision to retire), but she was going to retire anyway,” Kris Castillo, Jarvie’s daughter said. “She never even got to enjoy it.”

Jarvie, 59, had been receiving treatment for her illness, but the cancer started becoming very aggressive in the last few weeks. Chemotherapy did not take. She passed away surrounded by her family. 

Even though she never thought she would be a teacher, just a mother, teaching was one of the greatest joys of her life,” Kris said. “After life threw her a curveball with her divorce, she knew she had to do something to provide for her two children (Kris and Anthony Castillo). A friend suggested she become a teacher. Since she came from five generations of teaching, she pursued the suggestion and has never regretted a moment of it.”

After completing her teaching degree at Grand Valley State University, Jarvie taught one year in Zeeland, Michigan and then moved back home to Ludington and subbed for four years around Mason County. She was then hired by Ludington and taught first grade her entire career there, starting at Pere Marquette Elementary School and then moving to Lakeview.

“She never thought she would be a first-grade teacher,” Kris said. “She wanted to be a science teacher for junior high-aged students. After subbing, she found her place was in elementary molding young minds and teaching them the foundation skills to read.”

Working with hundreds of students in her almost 30-year career, she is remembered as a loving and caring teacher who strived to do the best for her students and co-workers.

“I enjoyed working alongside Cindy,” Lakeview, first grade teacher, Chaz Dila said. “She was always looking ahead to what activities were coming up and that helped me with my own planning. We collaborated on so many of our first-grade lessons and projects. I appreciated her humor and devotion as a teacher. She was friendly with all the staff and her absence will leave a significant void. She loved her grandkids and was always talking about them. It was so special for her to be able to keep an eye on them as they attended Lakeview Elementary.”

Lakeview kindergarten teacher, Zack Korienek also has great memories of Jarvie and working closely with her over the three years he has been at the school.

“I will always remember how Cindy truly cared for her students,” he said. “She would do anything to make sure that their needs were met, not only at school but at home as well.”

Ludington resident and Mason County Central teacher Cheri Stibitz worked as a substitute teacher with Jarvie at Pere Marquette and she also grew up knowing Jarvie’s children.

“She was a wonderful lady,” Stibitz said. “I was substitute teaching and she was a teacher in the building I was working in. One of the nicest, selfless ladies I knew. She was always lending a hand to anyone that needed it and was very involved in her student’s and her grandchildren‘s lives. She will be greatly missed by our community.”

Jarvie’s friend, Meghan Gillies said she was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed by all those who knew her.

“I knew Cindy for many years from her teaching with my mom to playing in a weekly Canasta group with her,” she said. “She was a kind and loving person and will be missed at our card nights.”

Laura Holmes, third grade teacher at Foster Elementary School, has held a special place in her heart for Jarvie since she was in high school.

“I first met Cindy when I was in high school,” she said. “I had the privilege of being her teacher’s assistant when she was teaching in the portable at Pere Marquette. The minute I walked into her classroom I felt welcomed and wanted. Cindy had a way that made everyone feel this way. A few years later Cindy’s smile greeted me again at Lakeview Elementary. Cindy was an amazing teacher and mentor. I feel so lucky that I was able to have known this amazing woman and have been impacted by her. Cindy, you will always be remembered and I want to thank you for every lesson you ever taught me, every step you supported me in, every laugh we shared, every tear we shed. I love you and I miss you.”

Working closely with Jarvie on the district-wide first grade team, Franklin Elementary teacher, Heidi Urka said she will miss Jarvie very much.

“For close to 20 years I was blessed to be a part of the first-grade team with Cindy,” Urka said. “During that time, I saw numerous examples of her kind and caring heart through her support of her students, their families, her family and other staff members. I have always admired her ability to see the ‘big picture.’ When we’d get bogged down in making a grade level decision, she was always quick to remind us that ‘there are other grades after first grade.’ As first grade teachers, we don’t have to do it all, but Cindy did as much as she possibly could for everyone. We will all miss her.”

Lakeview parent, Jennifer Tocco said both her sons had Jarvie as a first-grade teacher and she remembers her as a very caring and driven educator.

“Cindy had both of my boys, Tyce and Sawyer, for first grade,” Tocco said. “Tyce is very outgoing and did very well in her class with a structured environment. However, Sawyer is much more quiet and laid back. We joke that with our Sawyer everything is on his time, he’ll do what’s asked when he’s ready. Cindy noticed this almost immediately and sat down with us and came up with a plan that worked for him. When it came to the end of the year, we sat down with Cindy again and she told us that she’d recommended Sawyer try first grade again. I’m sure it’s never easy for a teacher to tell a parent that kind of recommendation, but she handled it very well and assured us it was not due to his learning capacity, but more about his maturity. We ultimately took her recommendation and kept him in first for a second year. It was one of the best decisions we could’ve ever made.” 

Shannon and Cory Wendt and their son, Parker, 14, will always be grateful for Jarvie’s patience and how much she cared for students outside of the classroom as much as she did in the classroom.

“I will miss Mrs. Jarvie,” Parker said. “She was so kind to me and helped me with my reading and as I got older, she would watch me play soccer.”

“Cindy Jarvie will be so missed,” Shannon and Cory said. “She was Parker’s first-grade teacher and helped him so much with reading. She was so dedicated to her students and would stay and watch them play soccer, which as a parent was so nice to see her care about kids outside school. She will be missed.”

With the school buildings being closed due to the coronavirus, it will be a lot harder for students and families to get some kind of closure pertaining to Jarvie’s passing. Lakeview principal, Jenn Mackey and the staff at the school all wish that they were able to spend time together during this hardship.

“We’re just devastated right now,” Mackey said. “We’re just wanting to be together and we can’t.”

Jason Kennedy, superintendent of Ludington Area Schools, didn’t work with Jarvie for long, but he knew she had a great connection with students and co-workers.

“She was someone who always believed in others, she loved her classroom and being with children, and she was a mentor and role model to many,” he said in a statement he issued to the school district on Tuesday. “We will truly miss her, but also know that we are better people because we knew her and walked alongside her.”

Anyone can see that Jarvie had a love for education and her students. Everyone who knew her will remember her for going above and beyond for her students and her family and friends.

Outside of teaching, my mom was actively involved in church and having a good time with friends and family,” Kris said. “She liked to travel but always loved being home. Like her Grandpa Hank she was a hometown girl. She really loved the people and the town. She will be missed by all. The family is so proud of her life and career and the fact that she touched so many lives. We are so thankful for the support of the community.”

This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.


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