Jack Kaneft '51

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Jack Kaneft '51

Jack is Chairman Emeritus of Colonial Packaging Group in Columbia. 

Jack began helping son Bill shortly after the company started and has stuck around ever since. He believes the company’s strengths are its customers and employees. 

Now a strong office force and warehousing group makes travel across the entire Southeastern United States possible, Jack says. "We've come a long way. We're most thankful for the people -- they are the reasons why Colonial has been such a success and why we've been in business 30 years." 

So why doesn't Jack retire and watch Colonial flourish from afar? He says if we want to live a full live, we should stay active and productive as long as we can. "I wouldn't stop for anything," he adds.

In 2007, a few years after 83-year-old Jack Kaneft’s wife of 54 years, Mary Anne “Cap,” died of cancer, he decided to pursue an interest in art. His inspiration was not just a life-long fascination with drawing and painting, but one particular artist.

Betty Kornegay, 78, lost Jack, her husband of 47 years, in the 2004 ice storm that paralyzed Columbia. The couples had known each other for many years through church, their sons were good friends, and Cap and Jack Kornegay had even served on a committee together. After her first husband’s death, Betty began giving adult art classes, and although she says she wasn’t interested in a late-in-life relationship, she allowed Jack Kaneft into her class. “It was all ladies in the classes – and me,” he laughs. She says he was a challenging student, but he charmed her. “She told me that if I didn’t start blending colors, she would get me a box of crayons,” he says. And so he learned to blend colors and inched his way into her life

Betty and Jack Kaneft decided to marry. They moved into the home she purchased next door to her son after her first husband died. There, they each have their own art studio space. He has learned to “blend colors” to such an extent that 701 Whaley asked the couple to present their work at a husband and wife show in the community art gallery this past summer. All but two of the 40 pieces sold, with proceeds going to Savannah College of Art and Design’s Reformed University Fellowship, where Betty’s granddaughter serves.