Jennifer Hope Kent was born August 31, 1944, in Dothan, Alabama, to her parents, Leonard and Lola Gilbert. She was a member of the Class of 1962 at Chipley High School from which she graduated, along with her future husband, Howard. Hope, as she was known, obtained a BS in Education from Troy State University, with which she entered her chosen profession in 1966, later receiving her MS from the University of West Florida.
Hope passed peacefully from this life Sunday evening, June 7, 2020, at Northwest Florida Community Hospital following a one year stay in the Washington County Nursing Home. Under the present conditions with the virus in Washington County, the family was in turmoil over fear she would pass alone and/or with strangers, but by the Grace of God, the young nurse who called the family at her passing was present with Hope and in fact was a former student of Hope's and stated all her children were also students of hers. Hope touched many students during her teaching career and was always proud of her profession. In fact, the last hairstyling she received at the nursing home was from one of her students as well as the last ride to the gravesite was by another one of her students. Hope taught in Bay, Leon, Marion, and Holmes Counties. She completed her career in Washington County in 2006 when she and her husband of 53 years both retired from education.
Hope was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard and Lola Gilbert, known locally as the proprietors of Leonard's Grill. She is survived by her husband, Howard Kent, and their three sons, Howard Hugh Kent (Jeannie) of Bainbridge, Georgia, Heath Jeremy Kent (Jessica) of Panama City, Florida, and Holland Jay Kent (Vickie) of Chipley, Florida, and nine grandchildren. Also surviving Hope are one brother and two sisters, Johnnie Gilbert (Elva) of Port St. Lucie, Florida, Jacquelyn "Jack" Tobias (Frank) of North Palm Beach, Florida, and Glenda Sue Moore of Milton, Florida, as well as many nieces and nephews.
While the family is mourning her passing, they receive comfort in knowing her quality of life has been restored, she has gone to a better place, and is now with her parents. They also know that on some future day they will all be reunited and until then will all be loving her. Please rest in peace Hope, knowing we will always have you in our hearts and minds.
Due to the constraints/danger of COVID-19 and to reduce the risk of exposure, a private family Graveside Service was held Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at New Orange Baptist Church, Chipley, Florida, with Reverend Mike Orr of First Baptist Chipley officiating. A larger Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held when the pandemic is over.
Special gratitude to Northwest Florida Community Hospital staff in Chipley, Florida, for providing the best care and comfort possible
Published in Washington County News from Jun. 15 to Jun. 24, 2020.