Kent was raised in North Carolina and educated in Maryland and Illinois, where he met his wife Gail. He enjoyed canoeing and cross-skiing in Wisconsin for twenty-five years while he was a research scientist in molecular virology at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. After retiring, Kent and Gail moved to western North Carolina, where he became active in a number of environmental organizations. He satisfies his scientific curiosity by serving as a mentor for high school students conducting research for science fair projects.

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