Mary Katherine Kent (Dec. 11, 1944 — Oct. 28, 2016)
Mary Kay (Merikay, as her mother called her) was born in Oak Park, IL, to Robert Vincent Kent and Mary Joyce Higgins. The third oldest of nine children, Mary’s early childhood was spent in Crystal Lake, IL, at her maternal grandmother’s summer home on the Lake. The family moved to Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior where Mary attended the Ahmeek Public and Calumet High Schools, graduating in 1962. Mary worked in Chicago a while, returning to Ahmeek to attend Michigan Tech in Houghton. Her sisters say she was the apple of her father’s eye, a brilliant man, because she was “so smart with numbers.” There she met and married Martin Oldford, a civil engineering student. A move to Flint, MI, found Mary raising two sons Paul and Matthew. The family moved to Lakewood, CO, in 1975 where she attended University of Colorado-Denver finishing her degree in business and accounting. Mary and her family moved to Glenwood Springs in 1977 where she began her accounting and, later, CPA practice at Dalby Wendland & Co. Mary worked at Dalby for many years, was respected and admired by her colleagues for her business acumen and integrity, beloved by her clients for her knowledge and caring. While working in this demanding profession, Mary raised her two sons with understanding love, and served her community well.
Mary met Joe Llewellyn through their association with the Glenwood Springs Rotary Club. They dated for 7 years and married in 1996. Joe and Mary shared a passion for “Service Above Self,” Rotary’s motto, and made dear Rotary friendships around the world. Mary was one of the first five women to be invited to join Rotary in 1988 and served as the club’s first woman president, a milestone in local service clubs, nowadays routine, thanks in large part to Mary’s fine character and example. Through Rotary and many other professional associations, Mary served this community with integrity, knowledge, wisdom and compassion, offering her talents, time and resources from coaching soccer for her sons to serving on non-profit boards, bringing a warm meal to a grieving family or teaching a new widow how to write her first check and manage her family’s finances.
Mary loved her water aerobics class at the Hot Springs pool. She and Joe could be found soaking in the hot pool nearly every day. Mary loved skiing, hiking, fishing (especially), camping, gardening, golfing — anything that brought her outside into nature, an urge she brought with her from her beautiful Lake Superior childhood in the UP. Mary and Joe also loved to feed their friends and family, having them over for delicious dinners on a regular basis. Mary and Joe took trips all over the United States in their RV and found their winter home in Surprise, Arizona, a few years ago. Mary made many dear friends in Surprise, through golf and volunteer work helping residents with computer use and tax preparation. As usual, Mary quietly helped people wherever she lived. For those who knew her best, Mary privately weathered many personal challenges in her life, from early childhood to adulthood. She never complained. Instead, Mary hoped to learn from adversity, to gain insight and wisdom, to remain kind, to enjoy play and humor, to be grateful for the smallest of blessings, friendship, health, natural beauty, and always, to be of service to others.
Mary is survived by son Paul Oldford and his wife Lorena and daughters Luna & Paloma of Plano, TX. She loved these two beautiful girls and visited them often. She is also survived by son Matthew Oldford of California and former husband Martin Oldford. Mary was truly the loving glue for her large extended Kent family as well as the Oldford and Llewellyn families. Mary visited her brothers & sisters, nieces and nephews in all the branches, whenever she could. Her remaining eight Kent siblings are Judy (Wayne Peters) of Hamlin Lake, MI, Bob & Paul of Portland, ME, Patty (Frank Richardson) of Surprise, AZ, Nick (Julie) of Ahmeek, MI, Peg (John Martinson) of Kent, WA, John (Rita) of Sarasota, FL, and Peter of Fulton, MI, and sister-in-law Marla Kent of Littleton, CO. Other dear family include Mary’s beloved nieces and nephews, Aunt Lorraine McDonald of Punta Gorda, FL, McDonald cousins, the Higgins cousins of Chicago, and cousin Jeff Kent, as well as Kent & Batenic cousins. Oldford and Llewellyn children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews also love their Aunt Mary.
A joyful celebration of Mary “Kay” Kent’s life will be held at Sunlight Mountain Resort Lodge Saturday, November 5, at 1pm. A reception will follow with light snacks. Cards and letters can be sent to PO Box 3344, GWS CO 81602.
Donations in Mary’s honor can be made to: GWS Frontier Historical Society or Glenwood Springs Rotary Community Foundation (local scholarships).
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