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Kent Roberts

Kent Roberts Obituary
Kent Roberts

April 21, 1947 - Sept 11, 2019

Kent Roberts, well-respected San Francisco Bay Area artist and retired Exhibitions Design Manager at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, passed away on September 11, 2019 of pancreatic cancer. He was born on April 21, 1947 in Minneola, New York. In 1969, he graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In 1970, he joined the US Navy, serving as an officer aboard the USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Vietnam. When he returned, he followed his passion for art, and completed a B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute (1974 and 1976).  Kent's artistic production reflected his diverse educational background and experiences and bridged the boundary between engineering and the arts.
Kent's paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints have been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions, and he has a long history of public art commissions including his "Three Bridges" and "Passage" sculptures in San Francisco, his designs within the San Francisco City College Library lobby, his "Montgomery Monument" in San Jose, and his "Seagoing" installation at Etec Systems in Portland.  He was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1980. His sculpture "Untitled" (1998) is included in the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is currently on view.
Kent will be remembered for his affable personality, compassionate spirit, good humor, unrelenting inquisitiveness, and intellectual drive. He was treasured by his family and had an extensive and ever-expanding circle of friends who cared deeply for him.  He actively supported the greater artistic community and stayed abreast of exhibitions, musical performances, and theatre, and he was a regular attendee of Tom Marioni's Society of Independent Artists. He maintained friendships with countless artists with whom he worked throughout his nearly 40-year tenure at SFMOMA, and he earned the respect, admiration and affection of hundreds of colleagues.
His unquenchable curiosity and love for adventure and travel resulted in long excursions to Japan where he completed temple pilgrimage walks and to northern England where he hiked Hadrian's Wall.  More recently, he traveled for two months throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand visiting remote villages and temples.
He is preceded in death by his parents Robert and Eloise Roberts. He is survived by his sister, Gail Roberts, brother-in-law, Bill Fields, La Mesa, CA; sister, Debbi Jackson, brother-in-law Greg Jackson, Phoenix, AZ and nephews Travis Fields, and Blake and Paul Jackson.
A memorial service is forthcoming at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to the .

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Sept. 16 to Sept. 18, 2019
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