Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cousin Kent, In Memorium

My cousin Kent has died, the first of the seemingly indestructible clan on my mom's side of the family to pass on.

Kent was, in my opinion, the most interesting of a bunch of very interesting cousins that sprang from the wombs of my maternal aunts.

My first memories of him are from his Stanford CT home, when we visited during the NY World's Fair. He was a few years younger than me, probably about six or seven at the time, and was an insufferable brat. Crabby and cranky, he was pretty much impossible to like.

That was also (I think) the last time I saw him, since I was raised in Japan and only met up with my South Bend cousins regularly after we moved to Tokyo. But we all followed each other, and we learned a number of years later that doctors had found a tumor on the ocular nerves of our still cranky cousin Kent. The tumor had been putting pressure on a sensitive area, so he had lived his entire life with a bad headache.

Crankiness explained!

A difficult operation followed, and complete success followed that. Not only was the tumor removed, but the crankiness as well, and Kent transformed into entirely a new man -- gentle, sensitive, compassionate, caring. And he was that way for the rest of his days.

He became an avid falconer, moving to the high plains of the West to pursue his passion for the ancient sport. His compassionate personality and love of the outdoors led him to a facility in remotest Idaho that took in troubled boys and gave them a wilderness, hard work, fresh air, good discipline experience to help turn them around. I'm sure he was exceptionally skilled and fruitful in this work.

He died because he loved the outdoors and structured his life so he could be there. He suffered a catastrophic skiing accident a couple days ago, held on for a day, then passed on.

His parents, my Aunt Gloria and Uncle Bill, are in their upper 80s now and Gloria is struggling with cancer, so this is unbelievably bad news at a bad time for them. Please keep them, along with Kent's siblings, June and John, in your prayers.