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Updated: July 22, 2017 @ 8:55 pm
“Lloyd Stubbs spent most of his time putting smiles on faces. It was easy to tell when he walked into a room as the laughter ensued. He had a lot of pride in his firework displays to the point of adding his own at his own expense to make sure the show was great. There will always be a hole in this community where Lloyd stood. He will be missed.” — Kuna mayor Joe Stear
"I have known Lloyd since I was a little girl and my dad would help him with fireworks in Boise. He's been a family friend since I can remember. As I got older he was always there to listen and help me out. I rented many places from him when I moved to Kuna to be with my family. He always asked about my kids and parents when I would see him. He was a very caring, loving man. He would do anything to help you out. He will be greatly missed. I'm glad I have all the memories. Even prouder that my kids have the memories with him too and loved him just as much as I did. I will miss seeing him around at Jackson's and during Kuna Days walking around getting donations for fireworks. And every time I see a fireworks show in Kuna or Melba I will think of him! He had the best shows!" — Niki Busmann
Fireworks from the 2015 Kuna Days show.
Kuna and Melba are mourning the death of Lloyd Stubbs, who died Wednesday, June 28, from complications after an April heart attack.
Services for Stubbs will be 2 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Kuna Event Center, 321 W. Fourth Street. Graveside service will follow at 4 p.m. in Kuna Cemetery, 1321 W. Boise Street.
Stubbs, 74, was known for managing a real estate and rental property business and running fireworks shows but, more importantly to his business partner, and friend, Jeff Miller, Stubbs always lent his time and a helping hand to community members.
“That guy could be so busy,” Miller said. “It didn’t matter who came in, he’d sit and talk with them ... just taking the time to make those people feel important or taking the time to talk to them was just adding on time to the end of his day. He did not have time to do it, but he always did it.”
THE LION’S HEART OF KUNA
Jack Graham, a close friend, met Stubbs when he was working at Real Estate 4, which Stubbs later bought and renamed Stubbs Realty. For Graham, Stubbs was a fellow Lion, as both were in Kuna Lions Club for about a decade.
“(Lloyd) did a lot of work for the community,” Graham said. “(And) arranged a lot of things Kuna didn’t know how to get done.”
Stubbs’ wife, Cheryl, said one year, he was recognized as “man of the year.” An event for Lloyd Stubbs was held in Boise, where he was to give a speech.
“He thanked everybody,” Cheryl described, “and said, ‘My biggest problem is people ... complain about the way things are done, and they don’t get involved. My suggestion is get involved or shut ... up.’” (Note: We’ve removed the colorful language that Stubbs could sometimes be known for.)
Stubbs got involved.
Stubbs was known for his fireworks. Every home football game, he’d light some, often donated from his company, Fireworks America Idaho. Stubbs, and his fireworks, were an integral part of Kuna Days over the years. Last year, he was the grand marshal.
“By God that man loved fireworks,” he said.
Nampa’s God and Country Festival dedicated its fireworks show on June 28 to Stubbs. This Fourth of July, Melba dedicated its fireworks show to Stubbs.
However, it was a fireworks show in Pennsylvania, according to a Kuna Life magazine article, that sparked Stubbs’ amor for fireworks. Stubbs was 14 years old and attending a Boy Scouts Jamboree.
“I’m going to do this some day,” Stubbs recalled thinking as he watched the fireworks. Years later, by helping put on fireworks shows, Stubbs worked for everyone to feel the magic he felt at age 14.
About 30 years ago, Stubbs joined Ron Wright and other volunteers in putting on the Melba Olde Tyme Fourth of July fireworks show in Melba.
“He‘d be among my top friends,” Wright said. “I helped him innovate and grow (his) ability to do top firework shows (with) electrical firing, movement in sky, aerial special effects …”
Stubbs had some reservations about the techniques, Wright said, but he put them aside.
“They worked,” Wright said, “and it helped teach the rest of our crew. Now they’ve become part of who we are and why some folks think what we do is special.”
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESSES
In 2012, Jeff Miller joined Stubbs Realty and Rentals, with the intent of taking over the real estate part of the business. Stubbs readily served as his mentor.
Miller and Stubbs sat side by side in the office that now serves as Stubbs Rentals.
“Since I started working with him on a day-to-day basis ... you just don’t realize how many people he’s constantly helping and all the things he’s doing for other people’s interests,” Miller said. “Always taking the time … and always (being) positive, those are definitely things I took from him and try to replicate in my own life.”
Ana Paz and Enrique Contreras were recipients of that time as their business Enrique’s was established.
“He was always somebody we looked up to,” Paz said. “He raised us, as a business.”
Through Stubbs’ professional support, Paz and Contreras became close friends with Stubbs. He would often do fireworks shows for special events such as quinciñeras, which are birthday parties for children turning 15.
Enrique’s would cater to Fireworks America when it was putting on shows in Kuna or during Melba Olde Tyme Fourth of July.
“He always wanted to make sure his crew was taken care of,” Paz said.
Stubbs’ favorite dish was the seafood chimichanga.
“He said, ‘I’d leave happy if I have that,’” Paz said of a visit she had with Stubbs before he died.
Stubbs was also a regular supporter of the Melba auction, Ron Wright said, until last year.
For the auction, Stubbs often donated fireworks packages on behalf of the Melba Olde Tyme Fourth of July committee and Stubbs’ firework business.
“When us guys in this industry were probably hurting more than most, that didn’t stop him from going to some benefit auction and spending a bunch of money on something he didn’t need,” Miller said. “Shoot, the guy would be over mowing other people’s lawns, older people’s lawns, and he was in his 60s and 70s doing that kind of stuff.”
JUST BEING LLOYD
Jack Graham laughed when he was asked if he had a favorite memory of Lloyd.
“Several,” he replied. When asked what they were, he smiled and said they weren’t OK to print in the paper. He added Stubbs’ wife, Cheryl, probably had better stories.
Cheryl and Lloyd Stubbs were married 25-and-a-half years, and, like Lloyd Stubbs’ fireworks, there were always sparks.
Cheryl, then Lloyd’s girlfriend, was standing at the kitchen sink of their home on Ten Mile Road. Lloyd Stubbs came in from working, grabbed a glass and got some ice from the freezer. Then, he came up behind Cheryl, pulled out her shorts, and dropped the ice down the back.
Cheryl was holding a butcher knife.
“I had the ice in one hand and the knife in the other,” she said. “I held them up and said, ‘Don’t you ever ... do that to me again.’ I threw the ice. The two dogs and the cat vacated the kitchen. He goes ‘OK.’ In 25-and-a-half years he never did it (again).”
This playfulness continued into their marriage. Cheryl would be in the kitchen doing something and Lloyd would come in, “just being Lloyd,” as Cheryl described. Cheryl would hold that knife and ask, “Really?” Lloyd would look at their grandson and say, “She’s got a knife.”
“And they’d both vacate the kitchen,” she said.
While he was taking care of other people and helping with community events, Cheryl said he’d always make sure she was OK.
“It was all about everybody else, especially me,” she said. “He was the most amazing man.”
Alx George is the Kuna Melba News reporter. Contact her at 208-922-3008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.