Lake Stevens’ own Jay Kaintz passes awayLoss is felt by many in the community BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR While his name may sound familiar to many in Lake Stevens, Jay Kaintz was known as an unpretentious and generous man who shared his good fortune and great wisdom with so many in the community.
Jay passed away on Monday, March 17 after a short battle with leukemia.
Jay and his wife Janet, are mostly known as the owners of Tom Thumb Grocery and gas station on the corner of Hewitt Avenue and South Lake and for their sponsorship of the fireworks display at the annual Aquafest celebration over the past decade.
However, there are many who have personally been touched by their kindness and willingness to help others succeed to make Lake Stevens the thriving city it has become.
Although Jay grew up in Ballard he spent his summers in Lake Stevens. His grandmother was the owner of the well-known Peggy’s Tavern here in town.
Kevin McAllister, the owner of Texaco Express Lube in Frontier Village, knows first-hand the kind of man Jay was and through business dealings, the two became quick and lifelong friends.
McAllister credits Jay with helping him get started with his business back in 1995.
“He has always been a big supporter of me and my family and the expansion of our Texaco Express Lube business,” McAllister said.
The Kaintz family owned the property on the corner of Highway 9 and SR 204 where McAllister has his Texaco Express Lube. He explained that both Jay and his son, Tim were the ones that helped his business get started here in Lake Stevens and how the Kaintz family has become like family to him.
“Jay has been like a father to me,” he said. “He is a good businessman who is very kind and generous and helps everyone out.”
While visiting the Kaintz family last week it was obvious how many lives Jay and his family have touched by the amount of flower deliveries that were being made, McAllister said.
Country Dawn Preschool owner Julie Bliven attributes her start in the business world to the support of Jay and Janet.
Bliven had a dream of opening a preschool and was fresh out of school with no money. After seeing the for lease sign on the property next to Tom Thumb, Julie picked up the phone and called the owner which happened to be Jay Kaintz.
After telling him of her dream and several meetings later, Jay and Janet decided that they would help Bliven achieve her dream of opening and running a day care and preschool here in Lake Stevens.
“I was very young and just out of school,” Bliven said. “I remember talking to him on the phone and he wanted to meet with me and hear my ideas. I told him
what my vision was and after a few meetings they said they wanted to put up the funds to get the building converted into a child care center.”
Bliven and her family, too have become very close to the Kaintz family throughout the years.
“Over the years we have formed a very close friendship with the family,” she said. “He was a really great friend.”
Jack Paylor is one of Jay’s oldest friends; they have known each other for over 60 years and started Tom Thumb Grocery together after Jay realized the need for a grocery store in Lake Stevens.
Their families have been friends for over three generations.
“We married and our wives were friends,” Paylor said. “Our kids became good friends and now the third generation of kids are friends too. It just keeps going.”
Paylor and Jay have always been able to have fun and relate to each other which is what has kept their friendship going through the years.
“He was a lot of fun to be with,” Paylor explained. “When things were bad he made them seem not so bad and when things were good they were great. He saw things in a good light all of the time.”
Jay will be remembered for his great love of golf, his sense of humor and his generosity and kindness.
“He is very modest, very quiet and shy,” McAllister said. “He sure has helped a lot of people out in this area.”
“He was bigger than life,” Bliven said.
A celebration of Jay’s life took place last Saturday at the Everett Golf and Country Club. Donations can be made in his honor to the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society.