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Bruce W. Kent

Bruce W. Kent Bruce Ward Kent was born December 15, 1943 to Robert A. Kent and Jean Smiley Kent, in Lincoln, Nebraska. He passed away May 15, 2018. He grew up in Salina and Norton, Kansas, where he graduated from Norton High School in 1963.

He graduated from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, in January 1967. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Washburn University in 1970, where he served as president of the Law School Student Association in 1968. He was a member of the Law Review and a member of Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity. He was honored by serving as student representative and dedication speaker of the new Washburn Law School building.

After law school, he joined the Ryan Law Firm in Norton, Kansas. He was elected Norton County Attorney, serving from 1970-1972. Kent obtained a Masters of Law degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida in 1973, with a Masters of Law in Taxation. Following graduation, he returned to practice law in Norton.

The firm opened an office in Hays, Kansas, as Ryan, Kent and Wichman. He practiced in Hays until 1988. From 1988-1989 he practiced tax law as a U.S. Senior Trial Attorney, Office of General Counsel, Department of Treasury, in Austin, Texas.

Kent moved to Salina in 1989 and practiced with the Barta, Kent and Sheahon firm. From 1991-1993 he served as chief counsel for the Department of Human Resources for the State of Kansas.

Bruce was very active in Kansas Democratic Party politics. He served as the First Congressional District Chairman and attended many state and national party conventions. He was a voracious fund raiser for many local, state and national campaigns. Bruce met Kathryn during the 2002 Sebelius campaign and they hosted many political fundraising events throughout their time together.

In 1993 he was appointed by President William J. Clinton as Regional Administrator of Region VII of the Small Business Administration in Kansas City. He served in that capacity until 2000.

His last position before retirement was as Counsel to the Department of Planned Giving at the Kansas State University Foundation in Manhattan.

In addition to the practice of law, Kent was a partner in many business ventures. He was active in the Kansas Bar Association, where he served in multiple leadership positions and, at the time of his death, he was the President Elect of the association.

Bruce is survived by his wife, Kathryn Focke of Manhattan; son, Kelly W. Kent, of Kansas City, MO; daughter, Krista and husband Patrick Allen and grandchildren, Avery and Miles, of Overland Park, KS; step-daughter, Joelle and husband Gerry Keller of Washington, DC.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Rex and Carl.

Visitation will be held on Friday, May 18 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home in Manhattan.

Services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 19, at the First Lutheran Church, 930 Poyntz Avenue in Manhattan, with Pastor Jerry Reynolds officiating. A celebration of life will follow at 4:00 p.m. at Kites Bar and Grille in Aggieville.

Private interment will be at the Sunrise Cemetery in Manhattan, Kansas.

Memorials may be made to the Homecare and Hospice Foundation in Manhattan or to the Kansas Bar Foundation Scholarship Fund in Topeka. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.

Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at

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