Before the Internet, if you dialed the United States Power Squadron 800 number to ask about seamanship and navigation classes, it was Marjorie Kent who answered the call and directed boaters to the closest class.
Kent died last Thursday, Feb. 23, at age 98.
Her husband was known as “Mr. Safe Boating” and in 2004, as a tribute, Marjorie and city officials dedicated Maurice “Mossy” Kent Park, the green space between Basins 1 and 2 overlooking the Alamitos Bay Marina. It features a bronze plaque, bench and sign designed by the Kents’ daughter, Jean.
Leaders in the local boating community, the Kents founded the Long Beach Marina Boat Owners Association and the Marina Yacht Club of Long Beach, and they were significant contributors to the design of Alamitos Bay and Downtown Long Beach marinas.
Marjorie was the ultimate supportive wife. Mossy would hold court on the bow of their boat, “Her Majesty,” and direct Power Squadron students, while Marjorie would do all the behind-the-scenes work.
For more than 25 years, the Kents owned the silk-screening, labeling and embroidery businesses on Second Street in Belmont Shore. Back in the day, after teenage girls bought their blue bloomer physical education uniform at Quigley’s, the only saving grace was the Kent-designed stylized embroidery name label over the pocket.
Kent formed close bonds by making a difference in the lives of others with her gestures of kindness. Marjorie enjoyed interacting with customers and working side by side with her husband of 54 years, Mossy, until he died in 1998.
It was then that almost 80-year-old Marjorie decided to pursue one of her passions, literacy. She met with Lowell Elementary School’s principal to offer her volunteer services. The school figured it would be nice to have a grandmotherly type to read stories to the children.
Little did anyone realize the powerful impact Kent would have. For more than 10 years, she passionately volunteered two days a week, instilling a passion for reading and writing along with an appreciation of literature to an entire generation of Lowell students.
In addition, on Monday afternoons, she volunteered with the Knit Wits weaving group at the Alpert Jewish Community Center. She knitted tiny caps for preemies, lap blankets for elders in homes and hats for cancer patients.
She is survived by her son, Ronald, his wife, Carol, their daughters Katherine and Jacqueline; her grandson, Dean, his wife, Dikla, and their sons David, Danny and Joshua; and nephews John (Alaine) and Ken Weiss. She was also preceded in death by daughter Jean Kent Unatin, who died in 2013 from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
There will be a memorial celebration for Marjorie at Mossy Kent Park at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 15. I’ll be there modifying the park sign to read, “and Marjorie.”
The Long Beach stop of the annual series last weekend resulted in a win by Long Beach local Shane Young. Russ Silvestri took second and Nicole Breault clinched third.
Young took second in the San Diego Yacht Club first stop, with two the San Francisco skippers, Breault and Silvestri, taking first and third respectively.
The third and final stop will be in San Francisco March 11, where the series winner will receive an invitation to sail in Ficker Cup, a feeder regatta to Congressional Cup.
Race 4 of Seal Beach Yacht Club’s popular series saw light to medium winds with variable speed and direction changes. The 27 boats entered reported cold and cloudy weather.
The current series standings have the following boats in first place in their class: Blade II, Code Blue, Raptor, Syndicate and Suicidal Bird.