Barbara KENT

Obituary
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KENT, Barbara Ann, 81, of Plant City entered into eternal rest on November 14, 2012 from cancer. Of her many achieve-ments in life, Kent was often acknow-ledged for raising eight sons as a single parent. Her great success as a mother is regarded with admiration in light of her many other accomplishments in both her professional and community pursuits. Kent is survived by her 8 sons, David Kent of Sioux Falls, S.D., Stephen Kent of Lakeland, FL., Timothy Kent of Bartow, FL., Patrick Kent of Frostproof, FL., Christopher Kent of Glenmore, PA., Matthew Kent of Titusville, FL. Mark Kent of Atlanta, GA., and William Kent of Plant City, FL. She is also survived by 4 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, 20 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Kent was born on June 31, 1931 in Bartow, Florida as the only child to Mary and Carl Bailey. Due to her father earning jobs as a dragline and crane operator in the heavy construction industry, the family moved often when she was young. She went to five different schools in four different states. The first year she spent the whole year in one school was when she was in the fourth grade in Holiday Cove, West Virginia. In 1942 the family moved to Ceiba, Puerto Rico where her father was involved in the building of the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. The family returned to Plant City in 1944 and her father enlisted in the Navy to do his part in World War II. Before he left for service they built a small frame house for Barbara and her mother to live in while her father was away. He returned from service in 1945 and they added onto the house and established themselves firmly in Plant City. Kent finished elementary school at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Plant City and continued her education at Mary J. Tomlin Junior High school which was still at its original location on Baker Street. After junior high school, she attended Plant City High School in the 1914 building where she was an honor graduate in 1949. During her high school years she was an officer in the band, a member of the glee club, a member of the National Honor Society, and a member of Future Homemakers of America (FHA). A very good student with a love of writing and words, Kent was also a passionate reader and throughout her life encouraged others to read. She would often refer to books she's read as "old friends" and throughout her lifetime would surround herself with shelves upon shelves of books. Inspired by her love of words and stories, Kent decided upon graduation from high school that she would study journalism at the University of Florida, where she was enrolled from 1949 to 1953. Journalism proved to be the perfect career path for Kent, and it was also a very strong choice for a young woman to make during this time in history. This type of courage and strong personal drive were characteristics that would become defining factors for her in Kent's life. As a journalist, she worked at the Gainesville Sun, Homestead News, Homestead News Leader, The Indian Town Press, the Miami Review, and the Plant City Courier. Kent rose to the position of editor in both the Indian Town Press and the Plant City Courier. During her first year as editor of The Courier, the publication was recognized by the Florida Press Association as the best weekly newspaper in the state. This would be the first of numerous awards the hometown paper would receive during her tenure as editor. Her editorial column "Barbara Cue" gave her the opportunity to share her keen and often humorous observations of life with literally tens of thousands of readers. When Kent retired from the Plant City Courier in 1996, the mayor of Plant City declared it "Barbara Kent Day" and presented her with a key to the city. In subsequent years, Kent continued to be a contributing writer for the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, The Lakeland Ledger, and the Neighbors column for The Tampa Tribune. In addition to her active professional life, Kent was civically involved in the community. She was a member of the Plant City Business and Professional Women's Club, the Plant City Chapter of Pilot International, and the Raiders Booster Club. The Plant City Business and Professional Women's Club recognized her with the 1990 Woman of Achievement award. Kent also had a great love of community theatre. She became involved in the mid 70s when she determined that The Harlequin Players in Homestead, Florida would provide a no-cost productive outlet for herself and the five sons living at home during that time. She eventually served a year as the president of the board of directors for The Harlequin Players, and when she returned to Plant City in 1978 she was one of the founding member of the Plant City Community Theatre, which is now known as Plant City Entertainment. Over the years, Barbara stayed very involved in the theatre, even after all of her sons grew up. She served on the board of the Plant City Community Theatre for numerous years and has served as its president. Barbara was recognized for her community theatre work, receiving the Brad Behan Award for Outstanding Service and becoming the first inductee into the Plant City Community Theatre Hall of Fame. In 2010 the Monti Community Theatre Awards in the Tampa region recognized Kent for her decades of support for community theatre by inducting her into their Hall of Fame in the Lifetime of Outstanding Achievement category. Kent was an avid football fan, a passion she was able to share with her sons. She has had an unwavering commitment to the University of Florida football team since her college years and spent most of her adult life as an ardent enthusiast of the Miami Dolphins. Even in her later years, she was often seen wearing a Miami Dolphins football jersey and could talk statistics and strategy with great fluency. It with great fondness that the family reports that during Kent's last moments of life she was covered with a Miami Dolphins blanket. A Celebration of Barbara Kent's life will be held at 7:30 PM on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at Plant City Entertainment, 101 Thomas Street, Plant City, Florida. She will be remembered through songs and readings that were meaningful in her life. Kent's wishes were for guests to dress casually for the occasion. The official memorial program will be followed by an informal reception.
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Funeral Home
Hopewell Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens - Plant City
6005 CR 39 South Plant City, FL 33567
(813) 737-3128
Funeral Home Details
Published in TBO.com from Nov. 25 to Dec. 5, 2012
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