Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 14:25:18 :
Tuesday, March 24, 1959
Thomas Kent Dies Suddenly At Stinson
Thomas T. Kent, veteran director of the Marin Municipal Water District and son of the late Congressman William Kent, for whom Kentfield was named, dropped dead this afternoon at his summer home in Stinson Beach.
Kent had been a director of the water district for nearly 40 years and served more than 10 years as president of the board.
He was veteran of flying service in World War I and native of Marin. Kent Lake, the water district’s newest and largest reservoir, was named in his honor.
Kent is survived by his wife, Ann, and two daughters.
Prior to World War II, Kent was active as a subdivider and a developer in San Anselmo.
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Wednesday, March 25, 1959
Funeral Rites Tomorrow For Thomas Kent
Funeral services for Thomas T. Kent, prominent member of Marin County’s historic “first family,” who died yesterday at 66, will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ross.
Rev. Harold E. Hallet, rector, will officiate. Inurnment will be at Mt. Tamalpais Crematory.
Kent, whose family founded Kentfield, died while napping in his newly completed beach house in the exclusive Seadrift subdivision in Stinson Beach. He and his wife, Anne, moved into the house only a week ago.
The death of Kent, who had been in failing health for some time, was attributed to a heart attack.
His home was at 131 Goodhill Road, Kentfield.
A real estate man, Kent was perhaps best known for his many years of devoted service to Marin Municipal Water District. He became a district director in 1920 and served as president from 1947 until last Jan. 14, when ill health forced him to relinquish the post. He remained on the board, however, as representative of Division 3, which includes the Ross Valley and San Quentin areas.
Last November, Kent was re-elected to the MMWD board without opposition. Robert Anderson of Sausalito succeeded him as president.
During Kent’s presidency, the water district nearly doubled in size. Under his leadership, a water storage reservoir was developed near Lagunitas at the lower end of Lagunitas Creek. Completed in 1953, it was named Kent Lake in his honor.
Also during his presidency, plans were completed and a bond issue passed for construction of the district’s Nicasio Dam and reservoir, on which work is scheduled to start soon.
Another accomplishment was installation of the district’s North Marin water line from Kent Lake to the vicinity of Hamilton Air Force Base.
B. J. Brusatori, water district secretary, today described Kent’s leadership as “exemplary.”
“I don’t think anyone could have done a better job,” Brusatori said. “He was conscientious and certainly a fair man. He always acted in the best interests of the water district.”
Kent’s colleagues on the MMWD board last night instructed Samuel W. Gardiner, the district’s attorney, to prepare a memorial resolution which will be spread across the board’s minutes. After a brief session, the directors adjourned out of respect to the memory of Kent.
Missed As Friend
“I will certainly miss him as a personal friend of long standing,” Gardiner said today. “He has been of tremendous importance and value to the water district because of his extensive experience and background and will be sorely missed by everyone connected with the district.”
The four remaining directors will name Kent’s successor on the district board. The appointee, who must reside in the same sub-district represented by Kent, will serve the remainder of his four-year term.
Kent was a longtime member of the Marin Conservation League, whose president, Mrs. Norman B. Livermore of Ross, mourned his loss today.
Mrs. Livermore said his father, the late William Kent, “set the high peak for conservation in this county, and Tom Kent continued this by following through on all the family traditions. He did wonderful things for the water district, and was always very helpful and sympathetic with the conservation league’s work in connection with beaches and parks.”
Kent’s grandfather, Albert Emmett Kent, migrated to San Francisco from Chicago in the 1860s and settled in Marin County in 1871. Albert Kent acquired extensive property holdings in Marin, including the area now known as Kentfield. The old family mansion at 200 Woodland road, Kent Woodlands, still stands.
The Kent family worked almost without ceasing to preserve Marin County’s natural beauty. In 1908, Thomas’ gather purchased the original 294 acres of what is now Muir Woods National Monument, Marin’s greatest tourist attraction.
William Kent made the purchase to keep private interests from spoiling the area, which he later gave to the federal government with a request that it be named after his friend, John Muir, the famed naturalist. The Kent family also donated much of the wild land in the vicinity of Mt. Tamalpais to the state for enjoyment by the public.
Thomas Kent was born in Chicago and spent much of his early youth in Washington, D.C., where his father served three terms in the House of Representatives. The senior Kent was a Bull Moose Republican and, in 1918, California chairman of the Independents for Woodrow Wilson.
In 1915 graduate of Yale University, Thomas Kent was married the following year in Long Island, N.Y., to the former Anne Thompson.
In Air Corps
During World War I he served in the Army Air corps, flying in squadrons with the late, famed Gen. Billy Mitchell. He did not see combat. After the war, he studied at the University of California’s school of mines, then entered the real estate business. He served for a time as a land appraiser for the state Division of Parks.
When the U.S. entered World War II, Kent tried to enlist for military service but was rejected because of his age. Failing this, he took a job as a welder for the Bechtel Corporation, wartime builder of cargo ships at the Marinship yards in Sausalito.
Besides his wife, he is survived by twin daughters, Mrs. Richard Erskine of Kentfield and Mrs. Robert Danielson of San Anselmo; three brothers, Roger of Kentfield, prominent attorney who is Northern California chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee, William Jr. of San Francisco and Sherman, with the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., and five grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Keaton’s, San Rafael.
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