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Mike Jarvis 1956 – 2021
UK – The family of Mike Jarvis are sad to report that Mike passed away on 9th August 2021 at the age of 65. Mike grew up in south Birmingham in a loving home, with his parents Douglas and Peggy and his brother Paul, and it was from his parents that Mike gained his strong morals and sense of fairness.
Early on, as a reward for sitting quietly while Paul had visits to the orthopaedic hospital, Mike was allowed to buy a Dinky car on the way home and thus began a lifelong collection of model vans.
Music was very important to Mike, especially when it was live. Growing up in Birmingham meant that he saw bands in small clubs before they went on to become rock legends.
He attended Harborne primary school, followed by Lordswood boys school. Mike was always artistic and he produced some beautiful ceramics at A-level. His foundation year at Fazely street in Birmingham studying art was a happy one, experimenting with sculpture and design which led him to the Theatre Design course at the City of Birmingham Polytechnic in the mid 1970s.
Joanna was one of his fellow students on the course and they quickly developed a strong friendship, in spite of his Brummie reaction to her posh southern accent. At the end of the three years that friendship developed into the loving relationship that has lasted for 42 years, 35 of them as a married couple.
Mike moved from the polytechnic to a job as an electrician at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He quickly gained a reputation as a cheerful and reliable member of staff and he became responsible for running the lighting for shows in the studio theatre. He loved the intimate atmosphere of the studio and enjoyed the camaraderie of the small company of actors for each show. Sitting at the lighting desk in the box, he was physically close to the performance, something that he appreciated.
Promoted to deputy chief electrician he moved to running shows in the main theatre, sitting in the lighting box at the back of the auditorium night after night, chatting to the other technicians on the headphones and reading his newspaper, as well as running the show.
Mike worked at the Rep for 14 years until complaints from the three-year old Elizabeth that she never saw daddy and the imminent arrival of Alice prompted him to accept a job as hire manager at Midland Theatre Services in Smethwick, in the hope of more regular hours.
Mike’s daughters, Elizabeth and Alice were the centre of his life and he was always proud of their achievements, but more than anything else that they have both grown to be strong, independent women. Among other qualities, they have inherited his kindness, his strong sense of fairness and maybe a little of his left-wing bias.
Mike’s job was very important to him, it was here where he could exercise his mind. When he became a project manager for live events and a freelance lighting designer, he found the work challenging and stimulating and he valued the friendships that it brought to him. He often worked long hours away from home and those friendships became doubly important. Joanna always felt that one of his skills was in knowing how to put together a team, using each person’s strengths to the benefit of the task. He had very high standards and expected a lot from the lighting professionals who worked for him, but he never had trouble finding people willing to join him.
Lockdown was very difficult for Mike, as it was for many others. Over a 24-hour period a year of bookings for work disappeared as if in a puff of smoke. One small comfort is that Joanna and Mike got to spend a great deal more time together over the past year than would have otherwise been the case.
His last, and possibly greatest role was as a grandad and Lego master. He adored without reservation both Henry and Cora his grandchildren. For Henry, grandad was his Lego master, for Cora he was a loving and cuddly man who would do anything for her.
His home was the centre of Mike’s life and he was the still, calm, centre of that home. Mike’s life was celebrated on 2nd September at Lodge Hill Crematorium where his family and a large number of industry colleagues and friends paid tribute to “an unflappable, smiling, lovely man.”
Donations are being collected in Mike’s memory, for #WeMakeEvents and Heart Research UK.
14th September 2021
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