A Life Lived: R.E. Jarrett’s life centered around his family, church

Published 12:16 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2022

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R.E. “Red” Jarrett grew up and lived his entire life in the Roan Mountain community. He was the patriarch of five generations of family, thus family was an important part of his life as was his church. He had attended St. John Free Will Baptist Church all his married life. Before that he attended Burbank Free Will Baptist.
“Red,” as he was known to family and friends, was an integral part of the small community church, where he had been a deacon for 58 years. He seldom missed a service at the church and for the most part was at church every time the doors were opened — revivals, singings, and other church functions. In fact, on Saturday before he died Sunday he spent the day making apple butter with his family and church friends.
Wendy Vance Probst wrote on Jarrett’s funeral home tribute page: “My dad, Rev. John Vance, took us to revivals many times at St. John’s and you could always find Mr. Jarrett standing at the door welcoming people and shaking hands. I always thought that if I could be half as obedient to the Lord as Mr. Jarrett, I would sail past Peter at the Pearly Gates.”
Another friend shared that Jarrett often took her and her brothers to church in his red truck, which had a camper on the back. And, of course, his kids were in the back of the truck, too.
Jarrett’s wife, Hazel, said her husband knew every church member. “He loved to worship. Church was the most important thing in his life next to family.”
Jarrett died September 25 and was in the car ready to go to church when he died with his wife next to him. He was 92 years old.
He was the father of five children — Elmer, Ruth, Ronnie, Kenneth, and Naomi. He also had several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He and his wife had been married 68 years.
Jarrett was a hard worker, and could do a lot of things. “He liked staying busy,” said Hazel. Among his many jobs were a school janitor, working at Graybeal Lumber Co., and overseeing the Roan Mountain Water Dept. He also worked in the herb business and did some farming.
Jarrett was a devoted student of the Bible and read the Bible every day until he could no longer see to read. “When he couldn’t see, he would quote scripture. His favorite verses to quote were Psalms 23. I often would read the Bible to him,” said Hazel.
He also enjoyed singing, and once made a deal with the congregation if they could get 100 people to attend, he would sing a song. Well, guess what? The 100 people came and Jarrett made good on his promise, singing his favorite song “I’ve Been Waiting Lord to Go.”
Although Jarrett enjoying making apple butter with his church family, and liked apple butter and butter biscuits, his favorite breakfast food was gravy and biscuits. His favorite dinner food was pork ribs and potatoes.
“Red was a good man, a good provider, and took care of his family. He was proud of his children and grandchildren,” Hazel shared.
“He loved living in Roan Mountain. His roots went deep, it was home to him all his life. He had so many friends and lots of family in Roan Mountain,” said Hazel.
Imagine a world where we all stepped into our own magic and spread it around like sunshine. That was Red Jarrett. Red Jarrett’s magic was his love for God and he shared it every day wherever he went.
R.E. “Red” Jarrett was laid to rest in the Moreland Cemetery above his beloved St. John Free Will Baptist Church. According to his obituary his dearest wish was for each person to know and serve the Lord and attend church. And, if you do, you just might hear “Red” Jarrett singing “I’ve Been Waiting Lord.”

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