Betsy Kent

January 18, 1942 - October 1, 2019

Betsy Kent, age 77, of Hockessin, DE and formerly of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, surrounded by her loved ones.

Born in Northampton, MA on January 18, 1942, she was a daughter of the late Allen Sanford and Virginia (Churchill) Leland.  Betsy earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University in 1964, majoring in Music Education/Choral Conducting.  From an early career in music education at the primary level in New England and Iowa, Betsy started working at the  University of Delaware in the early 1980’s as a piano accompanist for the UD Chorale and then for voice majors in their studio work and degree recitals.  After joining the Newark United Methodist Church February 12, 1978, she participated in various music ministries over the years.  In 1992, she was hired as the Director of Music Ministries at the church, retiring in 2012, following 20 years of dedicated service.

Betsy was as dedicated to her career in music as she was to raising her two children.  She supplemented their education with various musical experiences from the requisite piano lessons as kids, to Beatles and Burt Bacharach records, and to local theater and opera productions.  Even as her professional career at the U of D and church slowed down, her dedication to music and community continued with her involvement in the PEO Chapter I Sisterhood and serving as board and committee member of the Newark Symphony Orchestra.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Acts Hospice for the special care given to Betsy.

In addition to her parents, Betsy was preceded in death by her brother, Sanford Leland.  She is survived by her children, Jennifer Kent and Patrick Kent (Ann); sister, Joan Jackson; grandson, Jonah Kent; nieces, Jeannette, Lee Ann (John) and Michelle (Francis); and nephew, Kim Leland (Rikke).

A Celebration of Life and musical extravaganza will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at Newark United Methodist Church, 69 East Main Street, Newark, DE 19711.  Interment will be held privately.

Please no flowers, but in lieu of this kindly consider donating to one of the following groups near to Betsy’s heart: NUMC Music Department, at the address listed above, PEO International Peace Scholarship, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312 or UD Music Department, Attn: The Betsy L Kent Memorial Chorale Fund, Amy E. du Pont Music Building, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716 or donate online at and click on “Make a Gift” to select the The Betsy L Kent Memorial Chorale Fund.


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11 Condolences for Betsy Kent

  • Dear Jennifer, Patrick and family, I first came in contact with Betsy when my daughter sang in the children’s choir and then later when she headed up acolytes with my grandson. I can honestly say she always had such a sweet, gentle spirit about her. I have no doubt she is now leading the Heavenly Angel Choir. She will be missed but I am sure she leaves you with all those beautiful memories. Prayers, Lynn

  • We will be celebrating the life of Betsy Kent long-distance, with great admiration. We worked with Betsy at Newark UMC in the 90’s and experienced her wonderful music talent and her great talent for helping others develop their musical talents. She was kind, encouraging, and a ‘light’ to staff and congregants alike.

  • It’s hard to express my sadness regarding Betsy’s passing. When we moved here in 1984, she was singing in the Chancel Choir and eventually took over as Director of Music Ministries. She accompanied me many, many times in my solo and duet endeavors. Betsy was my mentor, my teacher, and especially, my friend. I am very much looking forward to her Celebration of Life and offer prayers to her family. Hopefully my dad will be singing in her choir in Heaven!

  • Besides Betsy’s considerable musical talents, I will miss her smile. Even in her most difficult months, Betsy had a sweet, strong bearing that belied her illness. I had the privilege to work with Betsy individually and as a member of the chorus she conducted for the Newark Symphony many years ago. She was a delight. Bill and I send our condolences to her children, with the assurance that Betsy was well-loved.

  • Betsy was such a kind and compassionate person who actively encouraged everyone who knew her. She consistently referred me for piano gigs and i’ll be forever grateful for her encouragement and her friendship. I’ll forever love my Betsy.

  • Thank you for everything

  • Betsy will always hold a special place in my heart, from being so kind when I first met her at my Governor’s School audition to Choral Union to Chorale to helping me record a special song for my wedding. She was always that needed smile around Amy Dupont even during some of her worst days. I will miss her dearly. My thoughts are with you Jenn and Pat.

  • I will always remember her wonderful smile.

  • My mother and Betsy’s mother used to walk Betsy and me in our carriages when we were babies. I considered Betsy to be my longest friend. We went to kindergarten, Florence Grammar, and Northampton High School together. I loved to make her laugh which was so enthusiastic and lovely. I have tried to reach her these last weeks, not realizing that Betsy had passed. I am heartbroken that she is no longer with us, but I am glad for her faithful and kind friendship.

  • I was a friend of Betsy’s long ago at Boston University and later in East Bridgewater. She was a wonderful person and musician.
    We shared good times.
    My sincere condolences to her family.

  • Just wanted to let you know how sorry I am to hear my classmate has passed on. I remember meeting her for the 1st time at Florence Grammar School when I was transferred from my school. I always remembered her as being quiet and very friendly. My heart goes out to her family.