In Memory

Kent Roberts (W. )

Kent Roberts (W. )


Kent Roberts
Kent Roberts Obituary

Kent Roberts

April 21, 1947 - Sept 11, 2019

Kent Roberts, well-respected San Francisco Bay Area artist and retired Exhibitions Design Manager at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, passed away on September 11, 2019 of pancreatic cancer. He was born on April 21, 1947 in Minneola, New York. In 1969, he graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. In 1970, he joined the US Navy, serving as an officer aboard the USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Vietnam. When he returned, he followed his passion for art, and completed a B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute (1974 and 1976).  Kent's artistic production reflected his diverse educational background and experiences and bridged the boundary between engineering and the arts.
Kent's paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints have been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions, and he has a long history of public art commissions including his "Three Bridges" and "Passage" sculptures in San Francisco, his designs within the San Francisco City College Library lobby, his "Montgomery Monument" in San Jose, and his "Seagoing" installation at Etec Systems in Portland.  He was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1980. His sculpture "Untitled" (1998) is included in the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is currently on view.
Kent will be remembered for his affable personality, compassionate spirit, good humor, unrelenting inquisitiveness, and intellectual drive. He was treasured by his family and had an extensive and ever-expanding circle of friends who cared deeply for him.  He actively supported the greater artistic community and stayed abreast of exhibitions, musical performances, and theatre, and he was a regular attendee of Tom Marioni's Society of Independent Artists. He maintained friendships with countless artists with whom he worked throughout his nearly 40-year tenure at SFMOMA, and he earned the respect, admiration and affection of hundreds of colleagues.
His unquenchable curiosity and love for adventure and travel resulted in long excursions to Japan where he completed temple pilgrimage walks and to northern England where he hiked Hadrian's Wall.  More recently, he traveled for two months throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand visiting remote villages and temples.
He is preceded in death by his parents Robert and Eloise Roberts. He is survived by his sister, Gail Roberts, brother-in-law, Bill Fields, La Mesa, CA; sister, Debbi Jackson, brother-in-law Greg Jackson, Phoenix, AZ and nephews Travis Fields, and Blake and Paul Jackson.
A memorial service is forthcoming at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to the ?

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12/12/19 11:18 AM #1    

Roger Hartman (D. )

Kent was the personification of a really good guy.  I never saw him after graduation, sadly.  Let's all resolve to live well, laugh a lot, and hug the ones we love every day.

12/12/19 12:20 PM #2    

David Roberts

At the reunion Kent and I joked about being brothers from another mother.  Although we were not that close in high school, we had a fascinating conversation about his art.  He gave me his card and I visited his website.  What an amazingly talented individual.  I'm so happy that his legacy will live on in the sculptures and installations that he created.  I will always remember that 15 minutes we spent together at the reunion.

12/12/19 01:56 PM #3    

Elaine Polanco (Brandner)

I had a fascinating conversation with Kent at the last reunion. My memory of him from high school was that he was quiet but funny. I found his art online following that conversation and was blown away! He was a really talented artist and I'm so happy to have had that small slice of time with him and to later learn of the impact of his art. So sad to hear of his passing.

12/12/19 08:18 PM #4    

Carol Huber (O'Keefe)

So sad to hear another classmate has passed. I remember the wonderful sense of humor Kent had and oh what a gifted artist he was. His legacy will last forever through his artistic gifts he left to the world  

With great respect no

Carol O'Keefe


12/13/19 10:36 AM #5    

Blaine Tyler (L. )

Kent, Bart Prince and I became friends at Jefferson.  I remember that he was interested in rocketry (it was, after all, the early 60's).  He always had a smile.  The fact he entered the art world was only mildly surprising as I thought him capable of anything he set his mind to.  Its a gift to be able to leave something behind that says, "Hey, I was HERE."  Well done, old friend.

12/14/19 11:26 AM #6    

Susanne Egan (Gunckel)

Ah, Kent -- So many memories from junior high and high school flooded into my mind as I read about you.  You were a constant and special part of my life all those years and I was always so pleased to hear of your successes that you so deserved. Thanks for being in my life!

01/12/20 02:10 PM #7    

Barbara Hlady (Mattera)

I vaguely remember Kent from HHS.  Always a nice and rather quite boy.  I was very interested to read about the life he lived and created for himself.  He had a fascinating life and left behind true memories of himself for others to see and enjoy. Not everyone leaves such a special legacy.  As the saying goes, "the good die young".


Barbara Hlady Mattera

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