Judson Mourns Passing of Former Trustee James H. Kent
(Elgin, IL - October 30, 2012) Judson University mourns the passing of Former Trustee James H. Kent, 89, of Muscatine, Iowa, who passed away on Monday, October 29, 2012, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Private services will be held at Geo. M. Wittich-Lewis Home for Funeral and Cremation Services. Casket bearers will be Molly Boyer, Stephanie Vandygriff, Jimmy Kent, Emma Kent, Ben Sweere, Jeff Bohling, Josh Boyer and Cecil Vandygriff. Public visitation for James will be held on Thursday, November 1 from 3 -7 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorials may be directed to the Evangelical Christian Support Foundation in James’ name. Sympathy notes may be left for the family at www.lewisfuneralhomes.com.
James H. Kent was born on July 25, 1923 in Indianola, Iowa, the son of Gage Allison and Mildred Ellen (Johnson) Kent. On June 19, 1949 Kent was united in marriage to Irene Kemp in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Kent attended Calvary Church, was a member of Rotary and was an honorary and sustaining member as a Paul Harris Fellow, a 32nd degree Mason of Lodge #2 AF & AM, a member of the Scottish Rite and the KAABA Shrine. Kent stood as one of Iowa’s most distinguished business leaders and citizens. Kent’s business career spanned six decades of success in agriculture related industries, including animal nutrition and feed manufacturing, corn refining and distillation and food products.
Various positions held in procurement, production and sales prepared him well for his eventual assignment in 1965 as operating President of the Muscatine industrial giants of Grain Processing Corporation and Kent Feeds, Inc. Nearly 40 years later Kent was serving as Chief Executive Officer of the privately held administrative parent company Kent Corporation.
This self-effacing leader quietly made his mark in other arenas as well. Board and leadership positions too numerous to list completely include: industry associations, local Boards, both public and private, and college and university trustee positions. Of particular interest to Kent for decades was the advancement of higher education. A holder of three honorary doctorate degrees, he applied his proven brand of steady and strategic leadership to Judson University, the Iowa College Foundation, Simpson College, Iowa Wesleyan College, Iowa State University Engineering College, and the Business Administration Board at the University of Iowa.
His daughter, Katy Vandygriff, has taken up her father's interest in higher education and Judson University to serve as a current member of Judson's Board of Trustees.
Throughout his life, James Kent was a devoted husband to his wife Irene for 63 years, a devoted father to his daughter, Katy and her husband, Cecil, his son, Gage Kent and his wife, Mary; all of Muscatine; and an attentive grandfather to his grandchildren, Molly Vandygriff Boyer and husband, Josh, Stephanie Vandygriff, Jimmy Kent, Emma Kent, Megan Sweere, Brynn Sweere, Emma Sweere and Benjamin Sweere; and great grandchildren, Anna, Ava, Ella and Era Boyer. James is also survived by his brother, Harold L. Kent and wife, JoAnn of Tampa, Fla.