Bob and Kay Sarver


The Bob and Kay Sarver Story,   “Part of the Great Generation”

Kay was the eighth child out of nine children born and raised by her parents David and Prudence Wallace.  Kay was born in Spokane, Washington on November 29, 1917.  Her father was a painter.  He painted scenery and several murals in theaters and office buildings. Late in his life he was asked to go to Hollywood and paint backdrops for movies. He also built and painted homes.  Her mother was busy raising all of the children.  She also rented cabins and ran a restaurant named the Angle Lake Inn near the SeaTac Airport.  She made chicken and apple pies.  Her pies were sold all over the Seattle area and distributed by her family.  They moved around the Seattle area and finally settled in Burien in the same neighborhood as three of their children.

Bob was the middle son of the family of three boys born to Noel and Marie Sarver in Estacada, Oregon on March the 19th, 1919. Bob’s father Noel was a successful building contractor in Portland, Oregon until the Great Depression put an end to his business. They put all of their belongings into a car and relocated to Seattle, WA.   Soon after the move and the stress of the times his parents divorced.  Times were lean and all the boys would caddie at the Inglewood Country Club and leave their daily earnings on the table to help their Mother with food and rent costs.  Their mother was a gifted seamstress.

Bob and Kay both went to Roosevelt High School in Seattle.  Kay and her sister Pat were in the same grade and tried to pass as twins.  Bob was quite a baseball pitcher in school.  His biggest claim to fame was beating Fred Hutchison’s American legion team 1-0.  Bob met Kay’s brother, Gil, playing with him on the same team.  Therefore, he met Kay.  Bob really enjoyed being around all of Kay’s large family.   There was always plenty of food to go around.  Throughout his whole life Bob always was a hungry guy, but he never snacked.  Kay’s dad Dave called Bob, “The Kid ”, and accepted him as one of his own.   Kay’s mom Prudence was a great cook using a wood stoked stove.  It seemed that stove was going all day and night trying to feed the large family. Holidays with this large family were very fun gatherings.  The brothers all played the guitar and sang old songs.

Bob did all kinds of odd jobs.  Some jobs with his dad Noel and some with Kay’s dad Dave.  Most of the jobs were construction and painting.  Kay’s brother Bruce became the eastern Washington agent for the Seattle Times and Bob followed and worked for him in Ellensburg.  Bob became the number one pitcher for the Ellensburg Cowboys.  The Cowboys and Lefty Bob Sarver played well and won the League Championship.  While in eastern Washington, Bob and Kay decided to get married.  They were married on June 28th 1937 in Granger, Washington with her sister Pat and her husband Bob Mayer as their Witness.

In 1939 the couple went to the Raging River in Oregon to pan for gold, camping out by the river and panning all day.  This is where their son Michael was conceived.  There panning results were very spotty.  So, they returned to Seattle where Bob was working as a Bellhop/Elevator when Michael was born.  They bought a small house in Georgetown, WA, paying  $2,000.00 with half down. The Seller was hesitant to sell them the house because they were so young. (20)

Bob later got a job with the Naval Shipyards in Kirkland, WA. Bob worked there until he volunteered for military duty to be a part of the big one “WW2” and joined the U. S navy.  He did training in Idaho and Mississippi.  So, Kay and Mike moved in with her sister Pat and her two sons in Juanita on the water three houses from the Juanita Bay Park.  While raising the three boys Kay and her sister Pat worked as waitress at Roy’s Market and Cafe two blocks from their home in Juanita.

The Navy assigned Bob to the Philippine Islands, Ship Repair Base at Manicani on the tip of Samar. He was in a squadron of PT boats.  He went on several patrol missions during his tour.  As he boarded a PT boat for a routine mission the base commander asked Bob and his pal to get off and come with him.  None of the squadron of ten boats returned, as all the sailors were killed.   The commander wanted Bob and his pal to ready the baseball fields for a visit from a team of Touring Pros called Phil Rizzuto’s All-stars.  Bob was the best pitcher on the Navy Base and he pitched against The All-stars and did quite well.  They played a series of games in order to entertain the troops.

After the war in 1945, coming home on the Aircraft Carrier Bob made some money playing 456 (dice game). It was enough money, plus a small loan from Kay’s dad, Dave, to purchase a small Mom and Pop Grocery Store in Kirkland, WA.  They renamed the store Sarver’s Market.  Attached to the store was a small living quarters with one tiny bedroom.  Over the years the store and living area were remodeled three times.

Sarver’s Market located at 1431 Market Street was very successful due to the personality and hard work of the family.  It became headquarters for sports and political discussions.  Bob was always whistling and making golf swings like Johnny Carson.  It was also the Greyhound and School Bus stop for the area.  For the first twelve years in the Grocery business, open seven days a week, Bob’s routine was up at 5:oo am gas and wash school buses and drive a route until 9:00 am, then open Sarver’s Market and work it until 9:00pm closing time, and remodel local houses until midnight.  Finally everything was paid for and he could Golf on Thursday afternoons with Dr. Joe Feek and take Sundays off.  Joe Caraher, owner and publisher of the Eastside Journal, often referred to bob as the Mayor of Market Street.  Kay was always working side by side with Bob in the store.  She was the rock and a woman with boundless energy.

During this times a beautiful little girl, Susan Rae Sarver (Mcleod), joined the family team.  She was very cute and benefitted from a lot of attention from all the locals and vendors.  She was always in the store playing and hiding.  One time she fell asleep behind a twenty-five pound sack of sugar and none of us could find her for several hours.  We knew that someone had stolen our pretty little girl.  Alas, Mike found her after several hours of search. 

During this time period Mike played baseball, football, basketball and tennis from the age of ten to eighteen.  Mike also delivered newspapers, groceries and worked at the local meat market.

After the store closed Bob sold cars at Lee Johnson Chevrolet.  One month he sold 33 cars, no fleet, it was a record.  He also sold cars at Metke Ford and Brooks Mcknight Chevrolet in Bellevue.  He was always one of the top salesmen and was awarded The National Legion of Leaders Award for superior sales several times.  Later Bob joined Mike in the Real Estate business helping him develop one of the most successful offices on the Eastside.

When the Sarver’s came to Kirkland the population was about 4,000 people.  Their telephone number was 406.  This small community afforded all of us with an “it takes a village” attitude and a sense of a family.  Bob played town team baseball and basketball.  The teams played against other town teams from all over the area of Western Washington. Bob was part of the group of people that started Little League Baseball in Kirkland.  Kay had a bowling team, golfed and was active in the Eagles Club Charities. 

After selling their home west of Market Street in Kirkland they moved to Mason Lake near Shelton.  They put an addition on sister Pat’s waterfront home. They made lots of friends at the lake. When Pat moved to an assisted living facility they moved into a view apartment back in Kirkland.  Bob and Kay could be seen daily walking 1-3 miles on Lake Washington Blvd.

Kay was a fantastic crossword puzzle worker.  She was always a very competitive game and card player.  Bob was an International Contract Bridge red point achiever. Bob played in contract bridge tournaments until one month before he passed.

The Sarver’s were avid sports fans.  In their younger days they would fly to San Francisco to catch a weekend series of baseball.  They loved baseball, basketball, tennis and golf.  Of course when Seattle obtained professional franchises they were big time fans.  Oh Yes, and Husky Honks. Their favorite old time baseball players were “The Splendid Splinter” Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and a lot of the old time Pitchers.  Kay was real fond of local heroes Lenny Wilkens, Fred Brown, Jack Sikma, Steve Largent, Jim Zorn, Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez.  She had several conversations with Lenny Wilkens on her Kirkland walks about playing Fred Brown more.  She also talked with Edgar Martinez at ball games and at Costco.  These men were always shared their time and were very cordial.

The Sarver’s favorite places include Mount Rainier, Hawaii, Mason Lake, Snoqualmie Casino, Reno, Harrison Hot Springs and Kirkland, Washington.

It is probably appropo that Kay passed away because of a long battle with Arthritis and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).  Bob’s Kidney’s were failing; he had stage 5 kidney disease.  He then contracted a severe case of Shingles that centered around his head neck and ears.  After suffering unbelievable constant pain his system was totally worn out and gave out.  Bob passed at 12:55 pm on July 12, 2011.  When Kay was told, she asked to be with him as soon as possible and she passed at 4:25am on July 13, 2011.  They are together again for eternity.

The Sarver’s had a great life and were very healthy unto the last few months.  They were totally in Love.  They always gave maximum support to each other.

YOU CAN’T EVER PICK YOUR PARENTS.  IF SUSAN AND MIKE COULD THEY COULD NOT HAVE EVER PICKED SUCH PERFECT PEOPLE.  HONOR BOB AND KAY AND THEIR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER BY LOVING AND CARING FOR EACH OTHER.

12 Responses to “Bob and Kay Sarver”

  • Jim & Mary Van Noy says:

    1st met the Sarvers at Washington Federal Savings. Always favorite customers, they were always so friendly and fun.
    Years later met up with them at Tulalip Casino and so glad to see them. Had to run down Bob once as I was playing a slot beside Kay and she won over 200.00. Ok, I found him to share in her excitement.
    Have been wondering for a couple years about them, as did not see them there at Tulalip.
    Enjoyed their story at this site- thanks for sharing.
    They were so nice to know.
    Take care now,
    Jim & Mary Van Noy

  • Dick and Judy Turner says:

    Hi Mike…this is Dick with Judy doing the typing. Nice job with your folk’s story. Although, as close as I feel I was with Bob and Kay, it doesn’t seem to be enough. I can’t drive down town Kirkland without thinking about them – but that’s not all bad. I see Kathryn and that smug little grin responding to one of our conversations. Usually about you or one of the girls in our lives. She always made me feel I was one of her chosen ones – age 14 til now. Bob on the other hand is much harder to explain. Words never failed him when it came to talking about LW, UW, golf, the Mariners, the Seahawks and a multitude of other subjects that were not nearly as important to both of us but had to be covered in order for us to get on with our day. Bob, one of the few people I was endeared to that called me “Dickie boy”. Enough already…my love to you and Sandy. Be strong my brother. Dick

  • Sharon Dwinnell-Smith says:

    What a beautiful story. Those of us who graduated from Lake Washington High School in 1961 are celebrating our 50th reunion this September with fond memories of times past. The Sarver family gave so much to our community and we are all the more blessed to have had them in our lives and carry their example forward. Thank you for sharing this story. Someone once said, “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
    My condolence to your family,
    Sharon

  • David Charney says:

    I had the privilege of taking care of Mr. Sarver regarding his kidney failure. He was always upbeat, interesting, and humorous at his visits, and he invariably told me at least one story about his wife and how much he loved her. I wish I had had more time to learn about his fascinating life and enjoy his company. He was a wonderful man, and I will miss seeing him.

  • Stephanie Sarver says:

    I will always love you two, Uncle Bob and Aunt Kay! I’m Bob’s brother Jack’s daughter, Stephanie. When we came up to visit, there was always space in your small but merry home for everyone to sleep. There was always great food, conversation, jokes and games. I remember Uncle Bob telling me to go out into the store and pick any candy bar I wanted to eat and thinking what a glorious place to live and what a warm, welcoming family. I remember thinking Susie and Mike are so lucky as I would have stayed with you forever! What love you had for each other then, and now for eternity. God bless you.
    Stephanie

  • SALLY HARDENBROOK KELLY says:

    JUST LEARNED OF YOUR GREAT LOSS, MICKIE. SOOO SORRY.
    MY MAMA, LUCY, ‘PASSED’ THIS FEBRUARY AT AGE 93. DO YOU RECALL ALL THE TIMES WE HARDENBROOKS STOPPED BY YOUR SUPER STORE? WE LIVED ON 5TH AVENUE SO WALKED TO
    YOUR/THEIR STORE MANY TIMES A WEEK, AS WELL AS WALKING PAST TO CENTRAL SCHOOL DAILY, AND TO THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH ON SUNDAYS. WE ALWAYS STOPPED-IN & RECEIVED A VERY FRIENDLY GREETING & THE LATEST STORY. WHAT FUN YOUR PARENTS WERE. I ALWAYS MARVELED HOW YOUR DAD REMEMBERED ALL THE PRICES OF HIS PRODUCTS AND ASKED HIM AS I WAS AMAZED HE KNEW THEM ALL—WHAT A GREAT MIND HE NEEDED AS IT WAS LONG BEFORE PRICES WERE SCANNED. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THEIR VERY DEAR ROMANTIC LOVE STORY. THEY WERE EXCELLENT EXAMPLES FOR YOU & YOUR FINE FAMILY AS WELL AS OH SO MANY OTHERS THAT ADMIRED THEM. GOD BLESS YOU ALL—SALLY—HUGS

  • M.Maahs says:

    I did not know your parents, just picked up their story while reading the newspaper. I just want you to know that their story is absolutely inspirational, and gives hope that true love really does last beyond a lifetime. Know that their love touched people from around the country, even those that they have never met. Such is a legacy of a lifetime for your family.
    Litchfield, MN

  • Dennis G. Sarver says:

    In Memory of

    My memory of Bob and Kay was (as previously mentioned) Bob said “go down the isle and pick out any candy bar you like”. I think I was about eleven or twelve.

    This was shortly before the time which I spent much of my play time with the Minor brothers and Danny Feek . Dr. Joe and his wife were the best. I was thoroughly delighted in visting with Dr. Joe in Levenworth many years later.

    My family lived in Houghton, across the street, up the side of the hill, from the Shipyard (Alaska Stevedoring – Skinner Corp.). We had moved there (built a house) in about 1949 on the back part of three acres.

    My uncle Bob had a very distinctive voice. He and my Dad “Jack” were a lot alike. Uncle Bob was someone my Dad really looked up to. His big brother.

    My Dad, having spent the 50s, 60s, and 70s, in Southern California, Dad and Bob didn’t get to see each other much, except for Dad’s occasional trips up from California.

    I last saw Bob here in Deerfield Beach, Fl, 10 years ago when he visited. He looked great and still very young.

    Bob really stuck up for me as a teenager during the fabulous 50s. Not that he ever mentioned it to me. I just knew he did. He was a very respected and liked member of the Kirkland community. Kirkland was good to me and I believe he was the force behind it.

    Bob and Jack had it rough during their early years to the teens. The Great Depression was a terrible thing to go through. During the past seven years after moving here in Florida (the same condo-complex as my Dad), I listened to the stories regarding what he and Uncle Bob had to endure. My age is 68 and with the passing of my Dad and now Uncle Bob, these memories are very important to me.

    After reading here, I know why it is I can’t just walk by the candy shelves at the market. I also found out what drives me to the local casino, and when I’m at the Jersey Shore every year, to the Taj Mahal: my DNA. Thanks Uncle Bob. My world was a better place because of you.

    Dennis Sarver, your nephew

  • Sharon Sarver says:

    Dear Uncle Bob. I miss you. You have been a part of my life, most of my life. Your endearment for your brothers Jack (my father), and Sid, was a stronger tie than most can imagine, except those of us close to you. You were at my son’s baseball games, cheering him on and fighting for his All Star game homerun that the ref missed, but everyone else saw. You stood up for my son and the ref backed down. That’s family.

    When I married and had children, we came to your store many times to visit while Grandpa Noel was there. You and Grandpa Noel would come to my school and take me out of school so I could visit … no one at the school objected. They wouldn’t dare.

    When you were very young, you had a paper route. You saved your money until you had enough to buy my dad a bike. It was used, but it was grand. You worked hard at your route so that my dad could take violin and piano lessons and he worked for the music teachers as best as he could around their homes.

    Dad was so proud to have such a wonderful big brother. I thank you for all the happiness, respect, friendship and love you gave to my dad, your brother.

    Love to you and Kay, I miss you both.

    Sharon Sarver, your neice

  • Sharon Sarver says:

    I forgot to add your youngest brother Bill. He was just four years older than I and I still think of him as my cousin. Thank you for being my youngest Uncle Bill’s big brother.

    Sharon Sarver, your neice

  • Teresa Stevens Schomber says:

    Mike, so sad to see you lost both your folks, but why would they not go together? I just loved working with you and your dad at Sherwood and Bobbies…life takes some funny twists and turns, my grandson in John Connors Great Grandson! My folks met them at the gate with a cocktail to welcome them. Take Care
    Teresa

  • Stan Gregg says:

    I recall when I was I think 11 or 12 and had a Bellevue American paper route that had us picking up our papers near Sarver’s Market. I always felt welcome by these friendly and patient people as I shopped for supplies of candy that I’m sure resulted in little profit!Some stores seemed to just tolerate kids,but not at Sarver’s-there was a welcoming feeling there! God bless.

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