BOSTON, Mass. — Laura T. Kent loved a good conversation, coffee and a cookie. On Sept. 23, 2018, at the age of 85, with her husband and dog at her side, she died from complications of Dementia.
She was born Laura Marjorie Thorn on May 9, 1933, in Evanston, Illinois, to Harry and Marjorie Thorn. They raised their family in Minneapolis where Laurie attended the Shattuck-St. Mary’s School. She was a proud alumna, stayed in touch with many of her classmates and recently traveled across the country to her 60th Class Reunion.
Laurie graduated from the University of Michigan in 1955 with a B.A. in Education. There, while studying at the law school library, she met Richard Kent. Laurie proposed to him and they were married on April 16, 1955. They began raising their four children (Kerry, Patty, Peter and Jack) in Birmingham Michigan, where Dick practiced law. They spent Sundays at Christ Church Cranbrook and summers immersed in Orchard Lake. In 1969, an opportunity to move west and work for Evans Products took the family to Portland, Oregon. There, Laurie discovered the world of Asian art, antiques and Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging. She was a member of the Saga School and traveled to Japan on several occasions. She was a gregarious tennis player and took many cooking classes that expanded the menu well beyond her mastery of the mid-western casserole. Never wasteful, Laurie recycled everything, from last night’s dinner, any piece of foil, to cardboard and cans loaded in the Ford wagon to sort and deliver to their next life. Laurie avidly studied the piano and then the harpsichord for most of her adult life, waking the house each morning with her practicing.
In 1988, Dick and Laurie moved to Boston where they lived on Beacon Hill, “in the thick of it.” Laurie completed her Master’s in Education at Lesley University and worked as a kindergarten teacher at St Joseph School in Roxbury. She was proud of her students and especially loved joining them in a rousing rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus” for any visitors who came to her classroom.
Laurie joined the Greater Boston Knitting Guild, where she became well known for her unique Christmas stockings that she made for many special people that came into her life. Always dog lovers, in Boston they became enchanted with Border Terriers and began a long succession of happy dogs that romped in the Commons daily. They spent summers in Wareham, Massachusetts where Laurie was often found swimming in Buzzards Bay, pushing the dog in an inner tube beside her.
Laurie and Dick appreciated the richness of the Boston Early Music community, and could be found most Sundays at Emmanuel Church listening to the Bach Cantata or attending a concert by the Handel and Haydn Society. Laurie was also a proud member of the Boston Athenaeum and its book selection committee. Their dog, Pense, usually accompanied them to both church and the library.
Laurie loved to travel. She and Dick were among the first visitors to China in 1981. India captured her imagination where she joined three trips focused on locally made crafts, visiting women’s coops and buying directly from the artists. Their home is still chock full of treasures from their travels around the world.
Retirement brought them to Wareham where Laurie was an active member of the Wareham Garden Club, Wareham Free Library and the Good Shepherd church.
But most of all, Laurie loved to chat. She was above all a people person. She would engage most anyone in conversation, whether about a book, a knitting pattern, Japan, recipes or dogs. She was curious and loved to learn and share her curiosity with others.
Although her memory faded, her passions never wavered. She and Dick attended concerts, walked the dog, read many books and, shortly before her passing, she played a Bach duet on the piano with her caregiver, Kathryn. Her energy and enthusiasm lives on through the many lives she touched.
She is survived by her loving husband of 63 years, Dick, her children, Kerry McKallip (Winters, California), Patty Kent (Rick Vandenpol, Missoula), Peter Kent (Huntington Beach, California) Jack Kent (Wareham, Massachusetts), grandchildren Madeline and Ian McKallip and Kate Reese, her dog Pense and many, many Christmas stockings around the country.
To the talented people at Mass General who made her last days warm and peaceful, Dr. William Lester for a long life of great care, and all those who shared a conversation, thank you all for being part of the journey.