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Kent R. Johnson

July 21, 1949 ~ April 1, 2018 (age 68)
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Kent R. Johnson

July 21, 1949 - April 1, 2018

 

Kent R. (KR) Johnson made his final exit, to be remembered as a man for all ages, on Sunday, April 1, 2018.

Kent was born on July 21, 1949 in Wichita, Kansas to Claude and Dorothy (Duckrow)

Johnson, moving as a child to Orange County, California, where he grew up. He

attended the University of California, Irvine as a marine biology major, developing a

deep love for collecting specimens from the tide pools of Corona del Mar and

collecting books from the shops of LA. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, Kent

moved to Indiana to pursue Master’s degrees in philosophy of science and library

science at Indiana University, Bloomington.

In 1981 Kent took the position of Library Director and Assistant Professor of Library

Science at Purdue North Central where he devoted himself to developing the library's

holdings in literature, poetry, philosophy, and natural science, finally retiring in 2015.

He also taught ethics, philosophy of science, and Great Issues classes for over two

decades.

A true renaissance man, Kent also loved the theatre, giving performances playing the

poet John Donne and doing poetry readings for Purdue North Central students and

staff. He occasionally taught classes wearing period costumes with a flair only he could

achieve. He loved and collected rare costumes, sabres and top hats, and enjoyed

entertaining his niece and nephew during visits.

Kent collected rare books as well, from Irish poets to physicists. The works of John

Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts held treasured places in his heart. He excelled in

photography, winning prizes for his portrait work, and enjoyed capturing the rare

appearance of an aurora borealis or a thoughtful expression on a colleague's face.

Wherever he went, he quickly endeared people with a turn of phrase or thoughtful

conversation, always ready to offer a cigar or a beer to a stranger.

He leaves behind to remember him a sister, Claudia Nauth of Berea, Ohio; a nephew,

Alex (Erin) Nauth and a grandnephew, Rene of Cincinnati, Ohio; a niece, Brittany (Odin)

Tangvald of New Jersey; best friends John Peterson of Redondo Beach, California;

Connie Szawara of La Porte; Beth Rudnick of Michigan City; Mark (Beth) Macik of

Michigan City; all of his golf buddies; the bartenders and book dealers and antique

storekeepers whom he befriended along his way; decades of colleagues and students

whose lives he touched; and his beloved cats - Lysistrata, Comtessa Dia, Eowyn, and

Kilo.

A celebration will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, to honor Kent, live life with

curiosity, delight, and generosity to others. Memorial donations may be made in his

name to the Independent Cat Society in Westville, Indiana. To paraphrase Hamlet,

"Alas, poor Roscius! I knew him, Malvolio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent

fancy."

 

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