The memorial plaque that is dedicated to Gary Cease.
Anyone who has had a child play sports in the Lake Stevens community over the past 20 years has most likely heard the name Gary Cease. Cease’s name seems to be synonymous with most sporting programs in town over the past two decades.
Cease passed away on November 11, 2008, leaving a legacy of service and love of sports, which will be honored at the opening ceremonies of the new Lake Stevens Community Park located just off of 16th St. NE and Machias Road, on April 17, 2010. The ballfields at the new park will be dedicated to him and a plaque placed there in his honor.
Cease’s involvement in the little league sporting community in Lake Stevens began as a coach for his son Caleb’s little league.
Soon he was immersed in the Lake Stevens Junior Athletic Association and coaching football, baseball and wrestling.
While serving as President of the LSJAA, Cease made sure no child was left out because of financial burdens. His goal was to have every child play, if they wanted the opportunity.
“He believed in the kids. He would pick up those who were less fortunate for or whose parents were busy for practice,” friend Jeremy Cain said. “As LSJAA president if there were kids that wanted to play but couldn’t afford it he would pay their league fees or get them waived. He did all he could for the youth.”
Many in the community have put in countless hours to ensure that Cease be honored for his hard work.
“I remember when we found out that he would die from the cancer he told me he wanted his ashes spread over Lochsloy field. I asked him why? His response was, ‘Jeremy, the best times I spent in my life were on the fields I coached on...mentoring kids is my most memorable accomplishment.’ I already knew that is how he felt I guess I just wanted to hear how he would explain it to me,” Cain said. “If I could accomplish one-tenth of what he did, if I could touch one-tenth of the lives he has helped or one-tenth the people I will have succeeded in life. He was a selfless man. It was never about Gary or being recognized for what he did he was a true champion of the youth and always had there best interest at heart.”
Cease was also a wrestling referee for 22 years for the Snohomish County Wrestling Association, He also served as the Assigning Secretary for eight of those years.
He had a great for the sport of wrestling.
“Gary actually helped me start the Lake Stevens Kids Wrestling program and was also a coach at Lake Stevens Middle School for a spell,” Lake Stevens High School Wrestling Coach Brent Barnes said. “Gary refereed high school wrestling and was liked by all the coaches in our state (which is hard to have happen as an official). Gary’s youth program helped produce the following state champions for the high school program Danny Kleven, Mike Bundy, Burke Barnes and Ty Human. His legacy of commitment will live on through all the kids he helped during his life. He has set a standard for what is means to be part of a community.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. at the new Lake Stevens Community Park. Tom Teigen from the Snohomish County parks will be speaking and introducing County Executive Aaron Reardon, and Councilmember Dave Somers, Geoffrey Thomas, along with Terry Baker President of LSJAA.
Other events that day will include baseball games starting at 9 a.m. and the LSHS football players playing flag football at 10:30 a.m.
LSJAA football and soccer teams will also be playing games on the new fields.
LSJAA will also have concessions along with booths from some of our local service clubs.