Cover photo for Florence Miriam Kent's Obituary
Florence Miriam Kent Profile Photo

Florence Miriam Kent

d. June 23, 2023


Global traveler, enthusiastic teacher, talented musician, wonderful cook, lucky gambler, and devoted mother.  All of these things hardly capture the spirit and soul of Florence Kent, who passed at 94 1/2 years young Friday, June 23rd.  Born the eldest daughter in the poor and very religious household of Rose and Louis Skarbnik in 1928, Florence rebelled against the strictures of her gender and station and made a life as bold and striking as her uniquely dark red hair suggested. 

After completing her masters’ degree in economics from Rutgers, she ventured in her mid 20’s solo to live in Los Angeles in the early 1950’s.  In those days, “good girls” did not do that, but Florence knew her life could be whatever she determined, and she was a very determined, good girl.  After a few years of excitement and a bit of heartbreak, she returned home to New Jersey and taught high school.  Not long after in late 1957, she met Army Major Irvin Kent on a “fix up” because the families knew each other. He was briefly stationed back home from Europe, and they were engaged in a month and married soon after.

Thus began her world travels, and Florence arrived in France a newlywed only to return to the United States five years later with four babies, which became her life-long focus, passion, and greatest achievements.  Howard, Lonnie, and the twins Jonathan and Rahel were blessed with a mother who insisted on standards of behavior, pursuit of education, exposure to culture, and provided unabashed energy and support to fulfill goals, dreams, desires, and duties. 

Florence saw all parts of the globe in her travels, including Australia, Argentina, Cuba (during Castro), Israel, and most of Europe.  She became a gourmet cook and spoke four languages, able to fluently curse in all. Her curiosity was boundless, and her joy was infectious.  Only her son Jonathan’s tragic car accident in 1979 slowed her down.  Despite advice to the contrary, Florence brought Jon home and helped him live as normal a life as possible as a quadriplegic, making certain he obtained two college degrees by chauffeuring him to classes and waiting in the student lounge.  Her willpower and resolve passed along to Jon, who lived 42 ½ years beyond his accident.

Whatever obstacles and pitfalls in life’s path, Florence overcame.   When her oldest son Howard lost his wife Nancy, Florence was a support system for Isabella and Lillian, as Meme – the one who will give you dessert before dinner but also give you grief if you were not doing as told. Florence was lucky enough to watch the girls grow up to become smart, independent, beautiful young women.  Both display the markers of Meme’s influence and love, humor, and sarcasm.

Florence was preceded in death by her husband Irvin, her son Jonathan, and her two brothers and sister.  She is survived by her son, daughters, and granddaughters who will think of her daily and miss her forever.

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