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Family gathers to honor commissioner

One of Washington County’s longest serving commissioners was remembered with love and admiration Oct. 24 during the naming of a portion of Highway 34 in his memory.
A large number of family and friends gathered at Washington College Academy for the sign unveiling of the Commissioner Evert Jarrett Parkway, the 3-mile stretch from the intersection of State Route 353 and county road Old 34 to the intersection of Telford Road, New Victory and SR 353.
Commissioner Danny Edens read the proclamation recognizing Jarrett’s indelible legacy of integrity and probity in public life, compassion and loyalty in private life, and diligence and dedication in all his chosen endeavors.
“Evert was great friends with my father and a good friend to me, and I’m honored to be here,” Edens said.
Jarrett was one of the first people to reach out to him when he decided to run for county commissioner, Edens said. “He offered to help and show me the ropes, and I used to sit with him at the Rainbow Vacuum Shop and he would give me names of people to see,” he remembered.
“He also called me on the phone to ask, ‘Have you seen these people? We’re going to get you elected.’ He did a great job getting me started in county government.”
In addition to representing the people of the 8th District for almost 30 years, Jarrett served as a deputy sheriff and constable, and served his country for several years in the U.S. Army.
Jarrett also was a faithful member of Mount Wesley United Methodist Church and deeply devoted to his wife of 55 years, Alma Jarrett, and their six children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Trey Hensley thanked everyone for attending the naming ceremony and honoring his grandfather. “This means a great deal to family members, more than we could put into words,” he said. “One thing he loved more than serving his community and Rainbow was his family.”
Hensley described his grandfather as a Christian man whose kindness was unmatched, and said he thought Jarrett would be very happy to be recognized with the naming.
According to Hensley, Jarrett also was a fan of gospel music and loved to sing.
“One of the reasons I wanted to be a musician was to learn this song, and the first time I was at the Grand Ole Opry, I got to sing my Papaw’s favorite song.”
Hensley played his guitar and sang an acoustic rendition of “Jimmy Brown the Newsboy.”
Former Washington County Mayor George Jaynes also remembers Jarrett as a great person. “He was a special man. We talked every day and visited quite often,” Jaynes said. “I’ve thought a lot about him since he passed away.”
Pastor Jeremy Dykes closed the ceremony with a memory of his own, which took place in 2004 when Dykes was soon to be married. At that time, Jarrett’s brother, Bob, was very sick, he said.
“Evert said, ‘I know you’re getting ready to go on your honeymoon, but if something happens to Bob, will you come back?’
“He said, if you’ll come back, I’ll get you the presidential suite at the Carnegie Hotel,” Dykes remembered, adding with a laugh, “We came back.”
When the sign was uncovered, identifying a section of Highway 34 as the Commissioner Evert Jarrett Parkway, a round of applause went up in celebration of his significant contributions to his family, his community and the residents of Washington County.