In Memory

Gary Kent

Gary Kent

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08/25/17 09:26 PM #1    

Jack Wittlich

Gary was one of the quiet pillars of the Mighty Maroons whom we will miss dearly.  I don't think he would mind the comments I am about to post, because Gary was always good-natured, never to harbor ill feelings toward anyone. As a Freshman, and throughout the four years of football at BTHS, Gary was the biggest member of the team, in both physical size and probably tenderness of heart. Coaches had to convince Gary to be tough and aggressive.  I remember one particular Freshman game, possibly at Edwardsville, when we were playing on a rain-soaked, muddy field. We were displaying our usual winning way, as we slogged through muddy down after muddy down.  After a few quarters, we were coated with mud from our helmets to our cleats-all, that is, except Gary.  He was just too big and too strong to be knocked down by the opposition, so his uniform was as pristine white as when the game began.  Our Coach, H.B.Tabor, was a fine gentleman and legendary high school coach we were honored to play for.   He was having a great time as we maintained a slim lead under difficult conditions.  After one minor setback, old Tabe was giving us a colorful chewing out, when he noticed that Gary was still as clean as fresh laundry, while the rest of us looked like we had just spent a long day in a swamp.  Tabe kept a straight face as he said "Gary, you're the only one here who looks like they aren't playing football today.  Get down there and roll around in the mud so you look like you belong on the team."  I felt sorry for Gary as he muddied himself, but he got up, laughed it off, and played with renewed fervor.  Reading Gary’s obituary, I can see that he pursued life with enthusiasm.  Words of sympathy do not fully express the feelings of all who had the pleasure of knowing Gary Kent.

08/26/17 09:13 AM #2    

James Zaring

First of all, thanks Jack for your characterization of Gary. It was spot on. Gary was a gentle giant without an ego problem. Gary came to practice every day and did his job and was only concerned about the team. As I sit here today, I remember how Gary played the game putting everone and everything ahead of his personal goals. Gary wasn't interested in reading his name in the sporting section of the News Democrat only how successful our team was. He was a coaches dream...did his job, no ego. We have now lost 5 team mates (Mike Brady, Les Lund, Buz Imboden, John Green, Gary Kent) and our coach (Robert Frala). Thanks to a few like Jack Wittlich, we will continue to remember and honor our team mates. They were part of the greatest football team in BTHS history. Rest in peace Gary.

08/26/17 09:51 AM #3    

Terry Yocks

Gary was a kind, sweet, gentle giant. His smile would warm your heart. I bet his students loved him.

08/26/17 01:09 PM #4    

Charlie Manker

Jack you write beautifully and really captured Gary well. He was, in indeed, a giant of a guy and wouldn't harm a fly, but on the football field you were not going to move him out of the way and he helped the team greatly. He was a force to be reckoned with. I'm so sorry to see his passing. I recall seeing him at one event, and it may have been when the team got together with Coach Frala at a reunion at the hotel where the Dutch Girl used to be. I never cease to be amazed at what so many of our classmates have accomplished in life. Gary is a great case in point. Scholar, athlete, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, historian, actor. Well lived, Gary. 

Jim, I didn't know that Mike Brady passed away. Also sorry to hear of that. Mike's father was in the Air Force and Mike came to BTHS in our senior year, I believe. He became an immediate contributor on the team. He was a very nice guy. Mike gave me a loose-fitting Japanese short robe type of garment to wear for Hobo Day in 1962. Funny how you remember those things. Charlie





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