HOWES CAVE — The entrepreneur who founded Kintz Plastics and grew it to one of the largest employers in Schoharie County has died.
Edwin Harry Kintz, 81, had been in failing health for several years. He passed away Wednesday at Albany Medical Center, his son Allen said.
Wynn Kintz, as he was widely known, was born in Flushing but grew up in Schoharie, after his father, Harry Kintz, moved the family north and founded Harva, a plastics manufacturer, in 1949.
After earning a college degree in Kentucky and serving as a supply officer aboard a Navy ship in the Mediterranean, Wynn returned home and settled into what would become his life’s work — plastics, first with Harva and then, in 1976, striking out on his own.
The first Kintz Plastics factory was a 500-square-foot former gas station, Allen said. The pumps still worked, and Wynn would use them regularly for his own vehicle.
Wynn moved to Niskayuna to raise his family but commuted daily. Allen recalls his father having one of the earliest mobile phones, a massive apparatus bolted to the floor of his car. Allen accompanied him on the ride to Schoharie County with some frequency, and recalls listening to his father work that phone the whole way.
It was Allen’s first education in a business that he would later join, leave, and finally rejoin when Wynn began to falter.
“He used to take me to the plant when I was a kid, when my mom had something to do,” Allen said Friday. “I just grew up being brought to work and that was my play place for many years.
“Always on the phone,” Allen said. “It was nonstop, it was 24/7. He was always working and fighting to make his company successful.”
That was Monday through Friday.
“He worked very hard but he was home for the weekends,” Allen recalled. “Weekends were family time, and we traveled all the time.”
First it was trips to the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown. Later, when there was more money, there were cruises and trips to warm places.
Wynn had a couple of hobbies, as well.
“His passion besides the factory was two things: Boxing and he was an avid collector of political Americana,” Allen said.
Wynn was a New York state ringside boxing judge for many years, including at Mike Tyson’s first six professional bouts. His expertise in U.S. presidential history was widely known, as was his collection of related ephemera and memorabilia, Allen said.
Wynn started his company primarily as a machining shop.
“Most of the original employees, and there are still a few there, were local people on farms or they were coming out of the GE machinist program,” Allen said.
He recalls a small crew of men working at the classic Bridgeport milling machines, balancing their ashtrays on top as they turned out Kintz products.
Kintz Plastics later transitioned to thermoforming plastic products, which remains its business today. It also accumulated debt as Wynn’s health deteriorated, which led Allen to arrange sale to Universal Plastics Group of Holyoke Massachusetts in 2018.
The 500-square-foot, four-man operation of 1976 had grown to 86 people working in 80,000 square feet by the time of sale.
Like Kintz Plastics, Universal is a family operation. Allen now works for it in sales.
The place where Wynn got his start, Harva, remains in operation in Schoharie, with Wynn’s sister and niece running the business.
Wynn is survived by his sons Allen and Aaron; his daughter, Robin; his sisters Susan McGiver, Judy Delein and Virginia Lee Kintz; and his grandson, Julian Kintz.
A graveside funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday in the Lutheran Cemetery in Schoharie.
The Langan Funeral Home of Schoharie and the Robert A. Guffin Funeral Home of Cobleskill are assisting with arrangements.