W. Kent Kise, Jr. passed away on February 25, 2015 shortly after celebrating his 90th birthday.
Kent was born February 15, 1925, raised in Kansas City, MO and moved to Washington, DC when his father became a War Production Board Materials Allocation Administrator. He graduated from University of Maryland’s College of Mechanical Engineering and subsequently pursued graduate studies in metallurgy there while teaching engineering at Catholic University of America. While attending Maryland, Kent also took voice lessons at the encouragement of his mother where he earned tuition through singing engagements and later became the tenor soloist with Maryland’s men’s chorus.
After four years of teaching at Catholic University, Kent was hired as a metallurgist in the Magnetics Division of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak Maryland. Here he met his wife and love of his life Lois while doing a musical show where Kent was singing and Lois was in the chorus line.
Kent then joined Dynacore, Inc., a start-up business manufacturing magnetic switch cores used in IBM’s early generation memory matrix as Vice President of their Technical Division. Following Dynacore Kent started up his own company Electroplastics, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida which he sold to Sprague Electric and joined the Carpenter Steel Company (CarTech) in Reading, PA as the Manager of Electronic Alloy Research. Here he was issued two patents for the development of two magnetic super alloys Hy Mu 80 and Hy Mu 400 important in computer memory applications, tape recording devices, home theater systems and MRI facilities. Kent was promoted to Product Line Manager for Electronic Alloys and later promoted to Manager New Product Development.
In 1970, Kent was called to join the Hamilton Watch Company in Lancaster as the General Manager of the Precision Metals Division and was promoted to the Presidency of the Precision Metals Division. Later, in combining the Metals Division with the Ordnance Division, Kent became Executive Vice president of Hamilton Technology.
Kent left Hamilton to become the Executive Vice President for Magnetic Metals Inc. located in Camden, NJ. In her infinite wisdom, Lois persuaded Kent to keep the family home in Lancaster and ultimately moved back to Lancaster to join Dick Blakinger and Peter Alexander as President and CEO Herrmidifier, Inc. Company.
In 1992 Kent received the SME Award from the Sales and Marketing Executives of Lancaster for his continued excellence as a Sales and Marketing Executive, a Pioneer, a Leader, an Innovator and Community Leader.
Kent chaired the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1992, chaired the Lancaster County Vo-Tech Advisory Board for 12 years, the Millersville University Business Advisory Board and was appointed as “Executive-In-Residence”. He chaired Lancaster General Hospital’s General Services Group, Strategic Planning Group as well as the Hospital’s Maple Farms Nursing Home.
He was a founding member and Board member of Mantec, Inc. a Pennsylvania funded resource center supporting small to medium size manufacturing companies, chairing their strategic planning group and authored the Strategic Planning Facilitators Guide “PLANTEC”. He and Tim Herr joined Gov. Tom Ridge as delegates to the State Trade Mission to Mexico increasing sales and exports from the County.
His honors include the first recipient of Lancaster County Chambers prestigious Small Business Person of the Year Award and selection as a delegate to the 1988 White House Conference on Small Business.
Having authored the business book entitled “Prescription for Winning the Game of Business”, based on his regular Lancaster New Era column in the “Business Month”, Kent was often referred to as the “Business Doctor” by many of Lancaster’s business owners, managers and not-for- profit Executive Directors. He was known for his “to the point”, concise and practical advice which was always enriched with his sense of humor.
Among Kent’s many volunteer activities, he was most passionate about education and the future of youth in our county. He served on the Board of Junior Achievement and was instrumental in working with Gov. Robert Casey in creating “Junior Achievement Week” aimed at developing students’ business skills and providing education around economics and our free enterprise system.
As a member of Lancaster Rotary for 19 years, Kent lead the Club’s Strategic Planning activities for 8 years and was active in many charitable aspects of the club.
Often referred to as a Renaissance Man, Kent was an avid Bonsai Grower and founding member of the American Bonsai Association. Kent has lectured extensively on the subject and could usually be found working in his potting shed when relaxing at home. He had excellent boatmen skills learned while living on a boat in college and loved sailing in the Chesapeake and British Virgin Islands with the family.
As a founding member of the Lancaster County Woodcarvers Kent authored and published a how-to woodcarving book entitled “How to Make A Wood Carving Into a Masterpiece” now in its third edition. Over his 55 years of sculpting in wood and clay, Kent studied under Frank Gasspero, Chief engraver at Franklin Mint and produced over 60 works of art in wood and bronze while teaching others the art form he loved. His sculptures received award recognition at the International Wood Carvers Congress and had a number of “Best in Show” awards over the years.
As Kent has said many times over the last 59 years, “the best thing that has ever happened to him was to persuade Lois to be his bride”. He is survived by his wife Lois, his son W. Kent Kise III and his wife, Beth Blanken Kise living in Atlanta, his grandson W. Kent Kise IV (Will) and granddaughter Alyson Kise (Aly) living in Boynton Beach, Florida. Kent and Lois lost their daughter Korinne Lanette (Korky) and her husband John Monroe in a car accident in Orlando Florida in 1988.
Kent was a long time member of Highland Presbyterian Church where he served on the Session, building committee and was a tenor soloist for many years. He had a very strong faith in the Lord and believed in helping others in need often through the role of a Stephen Minister. Lois and his family especially appreciate the caring support of Highland Church, Hospice of Lancaster County and their many close friends.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a Memorial Service in Highland Presbyterian Church, 500 East Roseville Road, Lancaster, PA, 17601 on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 11:00 AM with the Rev. Dr. Roger P. Rabey officiating. Family will greet friends at the church on Saturday from 10:00 AM until the time of service. Private interment will be held at the convenience of the family in Highland Presbyterian Church Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in his memory be made to the Samaritan Counseling Center, 1803 Oregon Pike, Lancaster PA 17601.