Died November 26, 2022
Stephen Kent of Indio, California and Middletown, Delaware died peacefully, at home on Saturday, November 26, 2022, after nearly 81 full years of life and a relative brief decline. Steve will be remembered by all who knew him as a loving husband, nurturing father, insightful journalist, and all-around gentleman.
Steve was born to Edward M. and Elizabeth R. Kent in Baltimore, MD. His father’s U.S. Coast Guard career led to a peripatetic childhood that had him moving from coast-to-coast and sometimes up and down the coasts. The family eventually settled in Seattle, WA where Steve attended and graduated from Seattle Prep. Steve attended Santa Clara University where he discovered and honed his love of journalism; met the group of self-described ne’er-do-wells known as the Machiavellian Society who would be his lifelong friends; and served as the assistant editor of the Santa Clara paper.
Graduating from Santa Clara, Steve began a 51-year career in journalism, first with the Associated Press, then with individual newspapers in cities across the country. His career led him to cover big stories, such as the D.B. Cooper hijacking and Spiro Agnew’s resignation, but not the big one that got away. The day Mount Saint Helens erupted, blanketing the town he lived in under a couple of feet of volcanic ash, he was on a plane to his next job. Can’t report’em all!
His journalism career created a life that was as on-the-move as his childhood with jobs in Olympia, WA, Seattle, Baltimore, Albany, NY., Yakima, WA, Dubuque, IA, and Omaha, NE. before returning to Seattle. At his side for 56 years was his beloved wife, Dolores (La Grandeur) Kent. They met because Steve’s best friend happened to be her college chemistry TA. After a first date in October, they got engaged on the following Valentine’s Day and married that August—and never looked back.
A man of deep faith, a mid-life career shift saw Steve move from secular to Catholic publishing, serving as editor of the Catholic Voice in Omaha, NE, and the Northwest Progress in Seattle. Not content to live his faith, he wanted to understand it better and went back to school and earned a masters in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University.
Steve was an award-winning journalist and would return home every year from the Catholic Press Association awards with an arm full of trophies for stories that he shaped as an editor, as well as for work that he wrote. As a Catholic journalist he traveled to Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, and Jordan, among other places, to report on, and call attention to, the less fortunate and neglected peoples—particularly children—in these regions. He was also fortunate enough to travel to Rome and meet His Holiness, St. John Paul II.
After retiring in 2014, Steve was able to focus on a lot of things in life that did not go well: his golf game, the Seattle Mariners, the pre-Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks. What he took particular joy in (in addition to the Russell Wilson-led Seahawks) was playing family patriarch to his three children, Christopher (Rachel), Erin (John), and Nicholas (Erin); and his five adored grandchildren, Owen, Brendan, Molly, Alice, and Violet.
Always interested in flying, Steve in retirement served as docent-guide at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, imparting his love of planes and flying in answering questions of the children (and adults) who visited the museum. But he did not just talk about planes, he also rode on them. Post-retirement travel saw him and Dolores visiting China, England, Greece, and France.
Retiring to California allowed him to avoid the depressingly short winter days of the Pacific Northwest, and he was often teased by his son Christopher for being partially Druid, as his favorite day of the year was December 20/21, after which the days began to get longer again.
All the days seem long now, but we know it will be a short time until we all see Steve again.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Saturday, January 28, 2023, at St. Joseph Parish, 319 East Main Street, Middletown, DE, where a funeral mass will begin at 11 am.
Donations may be made in Stephen’s memory to Santa Clara University, Department of Communications, University Development Office, 500 El Camino Real,
Santa Clara, CA 95053-1400 or online by clicking here.