Robert William Kent, Jr. was born December 18, 1935 to Mary Frances Kent (née Treadway) and Robert William Kent, Sr. in Mitchell, IN. He was their second child, and would be the eldest son of nine siblings. Robert went by many names in life. He was called Buddy at home by his parents and siblings, Bob at school, work, and among friends, and often just Kent by his wife, sons, and grandchildren.
Bob lived in Mitchell nearly his entire life. He attended Riley Elementary, Burris Junior High School, and graduated from Mitchell High School in 1954. After high school he enrolled in the Air Force. He did his basic training in St. Louis, MO and then spent the next four years as a radio repairman at duty stations in New York and Florida. After completing his four years of service, Bob returned to his hometown. Over the next several years he worked at Travelers and Sarkes Tarzian before getting on at the GM plant in 1963, where he worked until his retirement in 2004. In 1967, Bob met the woman who would become his wife, Carole Sue (née Brown), to whom he would be married for 52 beautiful years. Upon marrying Carole, or Suse as he called her, Bob also became a father to Joey D Randolph. Nine months later they welcomed son Layne Clark (Amber). Then several years later they welcome their youngest, Kyle Robert.
During his long life, Bob had many interests and was involved in many organizations in his community. He was an active member of the Mitchell Wesleyan Church, teaching Sunday school, ushering during services, serving on committees, mowing the grass weekly, and assisting with the food pantry.
When his children were young, Bob was also a Cub Scout leader and coached several youth sports teams, during which he had an influence on the lives of many local youth who still remember him fondly.
Bob was also very active, he loved to play ping-pong in the basement with his kids, spent a few years on a local bowling team, and played on several softball teams where he routinely hit home runs during the church league games. But Bob was never very competitive. It never seemed to bother him to lose, because he just enjoyed playing. Bob was also an avid sports spectator. He spent nearly every Sunday afternoon watching NASCAR, rooting on his favorite drivers, Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson. He enjoyed attending baseball games, and his favorite all time baseball player was Ralph Kiner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He followed some professional sports teams, but he was the most devoted fan and fervent follower of Mitchell Bluejackets basketball and football teams, which is why you would often find him in the bleachers at home games even long after his own kids had left the house. But his favorite physical activity was walking. Bob probably walked thousands of miles around Mitchell visiting with family and friends. For several years he spent nearly every evening walking with his siblings and other relatives around Spring Mill State Park. Even up until the last month of his life, Bob was walking 4-5 miles a day around the hometown he loved so much.
One of Bob’s favorite past-times was shopping with his wife. He especially enjoyed their many trips to the Louisville flea market, Kmart, and Kohl’s. Bob also enjoyed reading cowboy books. His favorite authors were Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey. He also loved music. He enjoyed old country and western music and church hymns, and he always bragged about all of the times he saw Elvis Presley in concert while in the service. But his favorite was Christmas music, which he often listened to year round. Bob really loved Christmas, and for years his house had the biggest display of Christmas lights and decorations in all of Mitchell.
Bob is survived by his wife Carole Sue (née Brown), his three sons Joey D Randolph (Sharon), Layne Clark (Amber), Kyle Robert, his four grandchildren Nicklas, David, Samuel, and Gisele, his six siblings Agatha Kimble, Joe, Roger (Brenda Hardy), David (Wilma Sage), Regina Long (Bob), and Donnie, as well as a huge extended family of cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, as well as his sisters Ruth and Leona.
Bob’s family would like to sincerely thank the doctors, nurses, and staff at Baptist Floyd Hospital in New Albany who took such amazing care of him during the final days of his life.
Bob will be laid to rest during a private graveside service at Mitchell City Cemetery on Tuesday, January 12, with Pastor Steve Jones officiating. Military honors will be accorded by American Legion Post No. 250 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 9107.
The family will be holding a Celebration of Life later this year that will be open to everyone who knew and loved him.
Memorial Gifts: Mitchell Wesleyan Church or dementiasociety.org/donate