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Joseph Henry KentPassing: May 14, 2024


Chastain Funeral Home

Funeral Service

Wednesday, May 22nd @ 10:30am


Chastain Funeral Home

Tuesday, May 21st @ 4:00pm-7:00pm

Wednesday, May 22nd @ 9:30am-10:30am


Mitchell Cemetery

Wednesday, May 22nd

BEDFORD – Joseph Henry Kent, 83, passed away Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at Autumn Trace Assisted Living.

Joe was born on Thursday, February, 13, 1941 in Mitchell, Indiana, to Mary Frances Kent (née Treadway) and Robert William Kent, Sr. He was the second son and fifth born child of what would eventually become 9 siblings.

Growing up in Mitchell, Joe attended Riley Elementary, Burris Junior High School, and Mitchell High School. Then, at just 17 years old, Joe and a group of friends left the midwest for the east coast. Their first stop was a small town in South Carolina, where Joe took up odd jobs to fund his nomadic lifestyle, including working as a dishwasher and a short order cook. Then, after a short stint living on the Georgian coast, Joe finally made his way down to Florida where he picked citrus fruit and lived on the beach with friends. After a few years living a bohemian lifestyle on the east coast, Joe’s adventurous spirit took him all the way to the west coast, where he spent a couple years working in factories in California. Eventually, the call of home beckoned Joe back to Mitchell where he found employment as a construction worker, contributing to numerous projects throughout Lawrence County, including the construction of the pool at Spring Mill State Park, before finally landing a position as a security guard for the Laborers’ Local Union 741’s training academy, a job he worked until he retired at 60 years old in 2001. In addition to his varied work history, he also served three years in the Army National Guard of Indiana.

Though Joe lived in Lawrence County for the rest of his life, he never lost his love for travel. Among his most cherished adventures were witnessing the majestic spectacle of Niagara Falls in Canada, embarking on a scenic train journey through the Grand Canyon, and immersing himself in the historic landmarks of Washington, D.C. But Joe also loved a good road trip. Whether it was going with his son to see a Nascar race at a track in Alabama, driving to Pennsylvania to visit Lake Erie, or even road tripping from his daughter’s house in Tucson, AZ to San Diego, CA, Joe was always up for hitting the road to travel somewhere he’d never been before! Or, in some cases, to visit a place over and over again, such as the case for two of his favorite places: Dollywood in Gatlinburg and Graceland in Memphis, both of which he visited multiple times throughout his life!

When he wasn’t traveling, as a young man Joe could always be found at the local pool hall running the billiards table or playing a game of cards. In fact, Joe was quite the card shark! Whether it was poker, Texas hold’em, euchre, or keno, he won more than his fair share of wagers back in the day! But as he got older, Joe traded in his pool stick for a pair of sneakers. Over the last two decades of his life, Joe probably walked thousands of miles around Spring Mill State Park and downtown Mitchell. He particularly enjoyed the evenings when he was joined by his siblings and other relatives who would walk and talk, catching up on all the family news along the way. Some nights they would end their walks at the local Wendy’s chatting over burgers and pop, but other nights they would just gather at their parents’ old house on Mississippi Avenue and reminisce about the good ol’ days.

Joe was a devoted sports fan. He spent nearly every Sunday afternoon watching NASCAR, rooting for his favorite driver and hometown hero, Chase Briscoe. And every year, he and his son headed up to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to attend the Indy 500 together. He was also a true blue booster of all Mitchell Bluejackets teams, including football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and even occasionally soccer! And he didn’t just attend the home games either! Joe often spent several nights a week traveling with his son to away games to cheer on his beloved Bluejackets, both the boys’ and girls’ teams alike! In fact, Joe was a long time champion of women’s sports. He loudly and proudly bragged that he was a fan of women’s college basketball long before it became popular! He liked to tell people how he started going to IU women’s basketball games “back when the tickets were practically free, there was plenty of parking, and you could sit anywhere you wanted.” In honor of his love of women’s sports, Joe will be buried along with a picture of his favorite player and Indy Fever’s newest teammate, Caitlin Clark.

Joe was also an avid reader. Though he loved a good thriller, his all-time favorite author being John Grisham, Joe didn’t just read fiction. He particularly enjoyed reading about advancements in medical research and breakthroughs in science, which is why he was a faithful subscriber to the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and Harvard Medicine magazines.

Joe was incredibly close to his family. Besides the nightly walks, he made it a priority to attend every family event, including the annual 4th of July picnics, Persimmon festival gatherings, Christmas parties, and all of the many, many potlucks at Spring Mill State Park.

Joe is survived by his daughter, Cathy Russell of Tucson, AZ; son Jeff Kent of Mitchell; plus children Charles (Melanie) Meadows and Vicki (Rob) Phillips; grandsons Logan Russell (Danielle Marchi) and Jonathon Shirazi; granddaughter Jaclyn (Matt) Murray; plus grandchildren Eric, Derek, Brooklyn, and Dorian Duncan; brothers Roger Kent of Bloomington, David Kent (Wilma Sage) of Mitchell, and Donnie Kent of Oakland, CA; sisters Agatha Kimble of Mitchell and Regina Long of Freedom; as well as a huge extended family of nieces, nephews, and great-grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his former spouse, Helen; son Monte Duncan; parents Robert and Mary Kent; and siblings Ruth Kent, Bob “Buddy” Kent, and Leona Stroud; all of whom have been laid to rest in the Mitchell City Cemetery, where Joe has also chosen as his final resting place.

Joe’s family would like to thank the residents and staff of Autumn Trace Assisted Living in Bedford where Joe lived during the final months of his life. Though his time there was short, Joe made many friends and had many memorable experiences, and his family is grateful knowing that his last months were filled with companionship, joy, and laughter.

Funeral service will be held at 10:30 am, Wednesday, May 22, in the Memorial Chapel of Chastain Funeral Home & Cremation Center in Mitchell, Indiana. Burial will immediately follow at Mitchell Cemetery.

Friends may visit at the funeral home from 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm on Tuesday, May 21 and from 9:30 am until the time of the service on Wednesday.

Memorial Contributions in his honor can be made to Friends of Spring Mill State Park. [https://www.friendsofspringmill.com/join-donate]

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5 Guest Comments

  1. Guest: Judith A Griffith | Bloomington, IN
    Date: May 21, 2024
    So sorry to hear the loss of Joe. Remembering him well from my work place, Indiana Laborers Trng Fund. Lots of laughs and chats.
  2. Guest: John, Shandi, and Kadyn Lambert | Mooresville, IN
    Date: May 18, 2024
    Oh Uncle Joe, the memories we will cherish for a lifetime. It was always a treat to listen to your stories of traveling and mischief! The mischief stories were always my favorite and there was a time when I got into mischief and you were there to save the day! My favorite memories however were watching you and Kadyn bonding over football. We will forever love and miss you! Thank you for just being you! Rest in peace until we meet again.
  3. Guest: Brad Tolbert | Franklin Indiana
    Date: May 17, 2024
    I'm so sorry Jeff. It's so hard loosing our parents.
  4. Guest: Mary Lagle | Mitchell, IN
    Date: May 17, 2024
    I feel extremely blessed to have gotten to really know Joe in the last few years, although he knew me my whole life. I had the pleasure of attending his 80th birthday party, and sat with him and his friends at some of the Jackets BB games, picnics and other family gatherings, I will miss you cousin Joe........ So very sorry Cathy and Jeffery Mary Pauline
  5. Guest: Randy and Jackie (Kimble) Grimes | Salem indiana
    Date: May 17, 2024
    RIP Uncle Joe. You will be greatly missed. Especially with our "Ole Porch Gang" family grp. So many memories that we'll cherish forever. Prayers for all that knew and loved him..