University of Utah Professor of Communications Emeritus J. Boyer Jarvis died peacefully at his home in Salt Lake City on March 28, 2019. He was born in Springville, Utah, on June 1, 1923, the first of eight children, to Mildred Boyer and Joseph S. Jarvis. He was married on December 17, 1955 to Patricia Ann Potts. He graduated from Mesa (Arizona) Union High School in 1941, earned a B.A. from the University of Arizona in 1947, an M.A. from Arizona State University in 1950, and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1958. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree by the University of Utah in 1989.
He was an Instructor in Speech at the University of Arizona, 1950-52, and at Dartmouth College, 1954-55. He was Special Assistant to the U.S. Commissioner of Education in Washington, D.C., 1961-62.
During his 32 years as a University of Utah faculty member, Boyer was assigned to a series of administrative positions, including Assistant Dean of the College of Letters and Science, Associate Program Director of KUED, Assistant to the President and Administrator of the University Theatre, Dean of the Summer School, Dean of Admissions and Registration, and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Boyer dedicated his life to education, the arts, human rights, international peace and social justice. He was committed to equality and to leveling the playing field for all people, and promoting the safety, health and wellbeing of children. He served on numerous volunteer boards, including Voices for Utah Children, Utah Heritage Foundation, United Nations Association of Utah, NAACP Salt Lake Branch, ACLU of Utah, and the Salt Lake Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. From 1976 to 1991, he was a member of the Salt Lake City Public Library Board of Directors. In 2006, he served as Grand Marshal of the Utah Pride Parade; and he received the Governor’s Award in the Humanities in 2009. In 2012, he received the YWCA Salt Lake City Honorary Outstanding Achievement Award, the first and only man to receive that honor, reserved for women. Most recently, he was the treasurer for the Gandhi Alliance for Peace.
Boyer’s grandchildren remember him as an outstanding tickle monster and chess instructor, as well as an enthusiastic cross-country, scenic-byway, road-trip driver.
Boyer is survived by his wife, Pat; son Seth N. Jarvis (Susie); son Nathan Y. Jarvis (Michaela); daughter MaryBeth Jarvis Clark; grandchildren Jakob Jarvis (Kirstyn), Maria Drummond (Tamarra), Heidi Lowder (Josh), Thomas Jarvis (Keala), Nicholas Jarvis, Adam Jarvis, Sarah Clark, and Madeline Clark; great-grandchildren Rudy, Julia, Michaela, Hazel, Skyler, and Jake; siblings Kenneth Jarvis, John Jarvis (Pat), George Jarvis (Jan), Jesse Jarvis (Patricia), and Susann Jarvis. Preceded in death by brothers Wesley Jarvis and Jarrett Jarvis.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday June 1 at 11:00 a.m. at Hillside Middle School, 1825 S. Nevada Street. The family will be present to greet visitors at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please donate in Boyer’s memory to any of the organizations listed above, or to your favorite organization that promotes education, arts, peace, human rights, social justice, and equality.