Lt. David L. Jarvis was born on June 12, 1949 to Charles W. Jarvis, a WWII Navy veteran, and his wife Arlene M. Jarvis (Steiner), in Denver, Colorado. David was the youngest of three boys. In their formative years, competition between the brothers (Richard and John) for accomplishments was driven by supportive parents who sought the best for their sons. David set high goals for himself and eventually aspired to become a member of the early astronaut program.
David grew up in the 1960s Denver neighborhood where many of the homeowners were employees of the Martin Marietta Company. Among these were aeronautic engineers and technicians, and association with these people inspired his interest in the evolving space program at that time.
David graduated from John F. Kennedy High School (Denver) on June 5, 1967, before attending the University of Colorado to join the Air Force ROTC pilot program. He was an excellent student and was quickly recruited for the Arnold Air Society, where he met the love of his life, Bernadette, who was the Commander of Angel Flight (Silver Wings) Chapter.
David graduated on May 26, 1971 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Air Force. He entered active duty on June 21, 1971 at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. Shortly after, on December 28, 1971, David and Bernadette were married.
Following graduation from pilot training at Williams AFB in May 1972, he was assigned to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida to train on the F-106 Interceptor. Lt. Jarvis was killed in a training accident on October 19, 1972 near Greenland, Florida. He was 23 years old.
David’s father wrote the following poem in his honor.
He knew no peace in his short life
At school or in this world
He saw the burning and the looting
And presidents scorned and buried
He heard the chant “baby killer”
And saw them flee beyond the hill
He spoke his piece and lived our
Heritage as he set his goals
Too hard he worked but time was short
Each detour was a challenge
As step by step he climbed the path
He lived a life time for most of us
He died a man both brave and true
He gave of life’s love unselfishly
Did we let him know the joy he gave
Before he died for us