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Ralph's Story

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Ralph Wilber Kent Jr., age 79, of Joplin, Mo., passed away on August 15, 2017 at his home surrounded by his family.
Ralph was born on September 29, 1937, in Hastings, Neb., the son of the late Ralph Wilber Kent Sr. and Audrey Lula (Blunt) Kent. He served his country in the United States Air Force for 20 years as a flight engineer on a C-130. He served seven tours of duty in Vietnam and was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Following retirement from the Air Force, he worked as the automotive service manager for Montgomery Wards, Firestone and Wal-Mart. He later sold real estate for Charles Burt Realty.
Ralph married Patti Stripling on December 17, 1977, in Joplin. Together they raised six sons.
He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He enjoyed fishing and was a longtime member of the Southwest Missouri Bass Club.
He is survived by his wife of almost 40 years, Patti Kent, Joplin; five sons, Tom Kent and wife, Donna, Webb City, Mo., Tim Kent, Joplin, Jim Kent and wife, Sherrey, Webb City, Chris Kent and wife, Lisa, Joplin, and Travis Ellis and wife, Dana, Nevada, Mo.; 14 grandchildren, Jason Kent, Briana Smith, Ryan Kent, Kirstyn Kent, Nicole Kent, Sarah Kent, Chloe Kent, Zach Ellis, McKinley Ellis, Cole Ellis, Matt Kent, Jesse Kent, Jake Kent, Mason Kent; eight great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by one son, Mike Kent, in 1995; and three brothers, Gary, Terry and Norman Kent.
A memorial service, with military honors, will be held at 4 p.m. Monday at Mason-Woodard Chapel. Randy Wilson, minister, will officiate. The family will receive friends for a time of visitation immediately following the service.
Memorial contributions may be given to the Disabled American Veterans, in care of the mortuary.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory.
Published on August 20, 2017
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