James Dubois Kent Sr. passed peacefully into eternal rest Wednesday May 8th 2019 surrounded by his loving family. Born on September 1st 1929 in Milton New York to Ida May (DuBois) Kent and Oliver Perry Kent Sr. he lived his life farming the beautiful family property on the banks of the Hudson River and serving the community he loved.
Known as "Jim", "Red", "Big Jim" "Grandpa" or "Farmer Jim"; James dedicated his life to hard work and growing fruit on the orchards of Locust Grove Fruit Farm. He along with his brother Oliver P. "Bud" Kent Jr. were the fifth generation to run the family farm. Throughout the years the brothers introduced new innovation and farming methods to expand and diversify their produce offerings. With a passion for growing the best fruit available the brothers tended their orchards with skill and dedication. They became founding member of the Green Market Program in 1976 and by participating in farmers markets around New York City they supplied the city residents with fresh local produce while providing the farm with sustainability. Their sharp business sense and perseverance has allowed the farm to prosper and be passed on to generations six and seven. Due to their stewardship of the land, Locust Grove Farm will celebrate 200 years of continuous operation by the Kent family in 2020.
In April 1953 Jim met the love of his life at a dance at the VFW in Newburgh. Helen and Jim married on February 18th 1956 and raised four children. Throughout their marriage they were dedicated to each other, their family, the farm and their community. Ever appreciative of great food, Jim found an excellent partner in Helen who hosted family dinners and holidays, made the best pies with farm fresh fruit and managed to serve up an amazing meal to anyone of the countless family members, friends or visitors who came through the revolving door of her farm kitchen. Jim and Helen shared their bounty with anyone who arrived. Together Jim and Helen (affectionately called "O's" by Jim) worked hard but took time to enjoy life. They traveled attending farm conventions with good friends which took them to Hawaii, Alaska, Nashville and Mexico as well as other trips Sweden and the Caribbean.
Family was always at the center of Jim's life. He set high standards for himself and was a role model to his children and grandchildren. For his daughters Joan and Barbara and sons Chip and Jimmy he taught the values of hard work, honesty and integrity. He led by example working hard every day and put his children, grandchildren and anyone else who showed up to work alongside him.
He graduated from Marlboro High School in 1948 where he participated in the Future Farmers of America Program. During his school years he was a Boy Scout with Troop #73.
Jim was a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church of Milton where he served as an elder and provided many years of guidance and volunteerism. He also served his community through the Milton Engine Company #39 where he was honored as a Life Member in 2004 and was Master of the Milton Grange #884. In addition to his hard work and community service, Jim had a passion for Model A Fords. He collected and restored several Model A's that he used for both work and pleasure. Though Jim may have spent many a workday riding on the "Doodlebug" checking on the farm or bringing in produce, he knew how to relax by taking his Roadster out for a ride through the orchard and surrounding area inevitably stopping for ice cream or a root beer float along the way. Through his membership with the Model A Restorers Club of the Hudson Valley he participated in car shows and club events to share his collection with the community.
He is survived by his loving wife Helen (Thoren) Kent, his children Joan Kathleen Kent, Barbara Helen Kent, Charles Thoren Kent, his wife Peggy (Lane) Kent, James Dubois Kent Jr., his partner Vivian Lanzerone, his grandchildren Matthew Pidel, Alissa Pidel, Grace Pidel, Aaron Kent, Sawyer Kent and Hannah Kent, sister-in-law Eleanor (Thoren) Hjulmand, nephews Rick Thoren and Jeffrey Hispanski, grandnephew Gregory Hispanski and grandniece Skylar Thoren. He was predeceased by his parents Oliver P. Kent Sr. and Ida May Kent, his brother Oliver P. Kent Jr., sisters Kathleen Kent and Helen (Kent) Carpenter, in-laws Fred and Helga Thoren, John Hjulmand, niece Janet Hispanski and grand niece Tracie Thoren.
Calling hours will be Monday May13th at The DiDonato Funeral Home, 1290 Route 9W, Marlboro from 2-4pm and 7-9pm. A Christian celebration of his life will take place at the First Presbyterian Church, 31 Church Street, Milton on Tuesday May 14th at 10:30am.
Donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Milton (PO Box 157 Milton NY 12547) , Milton Engine Company #39( http://miltonengine.com/ ),or the Hudson Valley Research Laboratory (https://www.farmhv.org/donate)
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Carl J. DiDonato of the DiDonato Funeral Service, Inc.