The world has lost a truly great husband, father, teacher, author, and patriot. R. Kent Tipton passed peacefully in his Sonora, California home surrounded by loving family on May 11, 2020. During his 77 years, Kent led a life filled with laughter, service, sacrifice, creativity, leadership, a thirst for knowledge and, above all, an unwavering commitment to his beloved wife, his family, and service to God.
The youngest of 4 siblings, Kent Tipton was born in Springville, Utah on September 20, 1942 to Blanche and Norman Tipton. While his mother added the additional name of ‘Richard’ during his early childhood, the name Kent was how most knew him.
Kent spent his youth pursuing creative adventures with his friends — whether it be building a boat to chart the waters of a local pond or competing in ‘tire rolling’ contests, his ideas for fun seemed boundless. Kent graduated from Springville High School in 1960 and then served his country from 1960-62 as a member of the Army National Guard where he was called to active duty during the Berlin Crisis.
In 1962 Kent was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spending 30 months in the Taiwan Taipei mission. Throughout this calling, Kent immersed himself in his work, falling in love with the Taiwanese people and culture. He dedicated himself to his teachings and the language, learning to not only speak fluent Mandarin, but also to write it.
Kent’s mission experience led him to dedicate his collegiate studies in the pursuit of a double major in both Chinese Language and Asian Studies at Brigham Young University. One of Kent’s senior projects included translating an entire book from Mandarin to English. While at BYU, he met the love of his life, Lois Karen Bonham. The two were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on September 1, 1967 and, shortly thereafter, both graduated from the college.
The newlyweds soon moved to California so Kent could pursue graduate school, completing his Master’s in Education from CSU Bakersfield in 1974. As the couple grew their family, Kent worked in a variety of teaching and administrative roles, until leaving education to lead an international publishing and financial advisory firm in 1978, eventually taking on the role of President there. During this time, Kent was able to share his love for the Chinese culture with Lois during a business trip to Mainland China, where he also served as translator and tour guide.
Kent’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to start his own successful company in 1987. Eventually, Kent’s love for education returned him to classrooms in 1993, ultimately completing his career as Principal of Jamestown Elementary in 2006.
Throughout his life, Kent also dedicated himself to tireless service in his church and community. He was a constant participant in the Boy Scouts of America program, leading a multitude of activities in support of local youth with his can-do attitude toward personal growth and life skills. Kent was also called to serve in a variety of Church capacities, including that of Bishop of the Sonora First Ward in 2014. He gave each and every assignment the best of his time and talent, bringing a warm smile and welcoming ear to all those he served.
Kent’s athletic pursuits in his youth, coupled with his leadership skills, enabled him to coach each one of his 4 sons in a variety of organized sports, including soccer, football, basketball, and baseball. Throughout his life both he and Lois found great pleasure in cheering on their Alma mater in all collegiate sporting events.
In addition to all of his life’s pursuits, Kent was also an accomplished writer. He published more than 10 fiction and non-fiction books. Kent’s writing won him the Mayhaven Award for Children’s Fiction for the first novel in his ‘Kid Posse’ series. His most recent fictional work, ‘The Journal’, was published August 5, 2019.
In retirement, Kent and Lois have been able to enjoy extensive travel together throughout the United States, exploring points of interest and history in 30 states. He also took incredible pride in home improvement efforts and a variety of woodworking projects — most of which he gave away as gifts to friends and family.
Kent will be remembered by the thousands of people he has touched — through his church service, his decades in education and private business, his written works, and the extensive family he leaves behind — for his sense of humor, intelligence, leadership, can-do attitude, and creativity. However, he will be remembered most of all for the love he will always have for his wife, his family, and his God.
His brother Jay, mother Blanche, and father Norman predeceased Kent. He is survived by his wife Lois, brothers Gary and Dean, sister Marjorie, sons Jared, Erik, Shane, Jay, daughters-in-law Dusti, Keri, Jenny, and his eleven grandchildren: Madysn, Connor, Riley, Carter, Tyler, Jacob, Hannah, Paige, Isaac, Hailey, and Noah.
A private family memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 16.