Jenny (Derber) Tarr

January 3, 1965 ~ February 7, 2021 (age 56)


Jenny A. (Derber) Tarr

Jenny Tarr, 56, died peacefully on Feb. 7, 2021 at home with her husband at her side.

Born Jan. 3, 1965 in Whitefish Bay, Jenny grew up in Rubicon, WI. and attended school in nearby Hartford. As a high school freshman she met a sophomore named Kevin Lyons-Tarr and immediately their beautiful journey together began. They married on Aug. 20, 1988, in Appleton.

Jenny and Kevin lived in Marinette, Milwaukee and Green Bay before settling in Neenah where they raised their two children, Zach and Ali. She made it clear her purpose and passion was ‘being their mom’. She believed in the importance of giving kids ‘roots and wings’ so as they were growing up, she dedicated herself to establishing those roots. Later in life you could see the joy she took in watching them take flight. Zach and Ali filled her heart with such joy and pride.

Jenny was unflinching in a long battle with chronic graft-vs-host disease, a complication resulting from two bone marrow transplants needed to save her life. Her medical journey was incredibly complex and filled with many serious setbacks. She allowed none of those setbacks to define her or keep her from her goal of seeing her children reach adulthood.

Thanks to her sister Ellen’s bone marrow donations, the unrelenting advocacy of her husband Kevin, and her own strong will, Jenny surpassed her original goal – and then some. She was able to see high school and college graduations, and her children find the ones they love to begin journeys of their own.

She invariably answered a goodbye “I love you” with “I love you more,” usually followed by a “Have fun.” She had a wry sense of humor, loved to be around people and had an infectious laugh. She also had a strong affinity for dark chocolate and cookies, which has been attributed to a sweet tooth inherited from her father.  Jenny will be remembered for her love of family, her gentle, loving heart and her quiet grace and strength. She thought of others before herself and that it was important she be the reason someone felt loved each day.

She is survived by: her husband Kevin Lyons-Tarr, Neenah, and their two children: Zach Tarr (Annie Barnes), Madison; and Ali Tarr (fiancé Berkeley Blum), Grafton, and by her father, David Derber, Appleton.  She is also survived by her siblings and their families: Brian (Anne) Derber, Presque Isle; Ellen (Dennis) Reinwald, Horicon; Ann (George) Kessler, Neenah; Steve (Lynn) Derber, Stevens Point, and by her husband’s three brothers: Christopher (Amy)Tarr, Mukwonago; Tracy Tarr (Rebecca Lee), Minneapolis; Jason Lyons-Tarr (Krista North), Minneapolis; and her fathers-in-law, Keith (Nell) Tarr, Tampa, FL. and Thomas Lyons, Neenah, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by her mother, Lavon Derber, and her mother-in-law, Carol Lyons.

The family would like to thank Jenny’s many health care professionals and to acknowledge a special debt of gratitude to Dr. Walter Longo, who was there for her every step of the way.

In accordance with her wishes, a memorial celebration will be held when it is safe to once again gather in person.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to either the Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome Foundation ( or Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin (  Jenny’s memory can be further honored by treating each other with the kindness that characterized her life.


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