John Kent Gelarden, 51, of Edwardsville, Ill., born Sep. 14, 1963, in Owensboro, Ky., passed away unexpectedly September 20, 2014, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Highland, Ill..
Kent proudly served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, attaining the rank of Master Sgt. His jobs included firefighting, Sensor Operator and Special Operations at NATO in Desert Storm, retiring in 2003.
He was an active member of the Shriner's of East St. Louis playing Soprano Trumpet with the Drum and Bugle Corp. since 2001. He joined the Masonic Blue Lodge 504 of Fairview Heights, Ill., in 1999. In 2003 he joined the National Harley Owners Group and became a member of the Alton HOG Chapter of Illinois, serving as Director from 2007 to 2009. For the past two years he has worked as a Police Dispatcher for Madison City, Ill.
His profound respect and knowledge of guns served him well as an instructor to others. His lifelong passion for riding motorcycles took him to many places and many lasting friendships. He was always quick with a witty joke and over flowing glossary of humorous knowledge. He had a HUGE HEART and it was extremely evident in the way he embraced his family and friends.
Kent lived with a fervor for life with unquestionable integrity, honesty, fierce patriotism, and standing up for all that is good and just in this life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lee Edward and Erna Loraine, nee Dooley, Gelarden.
Surviving are his wife, Evelyn Marie Broussard, whom he married May 12, 2012, currently residing in Edwardsville, Ill.; three daughters, Leea Marie (Nicole LaVerne) Gelarden of Troy, Ill., Kayla J. (Andrew Paul) Lorentzen of Marine, Ill., and Sherri Lynn (Richard Dale) Franklin of Troy, Ill.; a brother, Kelly Lee (Susan Diane) Gelarden of Brownsburg, Ind.; eight grandchildren, Micah, Joey, Joshua, James, Ashley, Hannah, Zoe and Zach; niece Megan DiAnn Gelarden; a nephew, and Ian Patrick Gelarden; and his former wife of 23 years, Michelle Lee Brown.
Memorials may be made to the Shriner's Hospital or St. Louis Children's Burn Camp.
Online condolences and guest book may be found at: www.eliaskallalandschaaf.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 25, 2014, at Elias, Kallal and Schaaf Funeral Home, Bethalto, Ill.
Funeral: Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, September 26, 2014, at the funeral home, with Mike Gowin officiating.
Burial will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Mo.
ELIAS, KALLAL AND SCHAAF FUNERAL
HOME, Bethalto, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Sept. 23, 2014