Robert Kent Donovan

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Robert "Kent" Donovan

November 10, 1932 - June 08, 2018

Newburyport, MA - Robert Kent Donovan, 85, a longtime resident of Plum Island, Newbury, Mass., passed away peacefully at Country Center in Newburyport, on June 8, 2018.

Born in Andover, November 10, 1932, “Kent,” as he was known, was the son of the late Harry Albert Donovan and Ruth Hannah Kent Donovan. After graduating from Punchard High School in Andover, Kent received a bachelor's degree from Harvard. Following service as U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant in Germany from 1954 to 1956, Kent studied at Cambridge University in England earning a second bachelor's and a master's degree in History, before returning to complete a Ph.D in History at Harvard University in 1965.

Kent enjoyed a career as a professor of History and Dance History at Kansas State University. Visiting professorships and fellowships included the University of Victoria (British Columbia), Early Music and Dance Institute at Castle Hill (Ipswich, Mass.), Massachusetts Historical Society and the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University (Providence, R.I.). A respected critic of dance, drama and film, Kent wrote for the Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury, Topeka Metro News, and other media outlets.

Kent was considered a great storyteller and leaves behind many family and friends who now share happy memories of their times with him throughout his life. Kent was predeceased by brother Bruce E. Donovan. Survivors include his first cousins Helen Glinos of Chelmsford, Marion Olson of Groveland and Ruth Petersen of North Andover; as well as their children and grandchildren; sister-in-law Doris Stearn Donovan of Providence; niece Erika Donovan Estades of New York City; nephew Greg Donovan of Lincoln, Nebraska; along with three great-nieces and a great-nephew.
Visiting hours will be held Wednesday, June 13, 2018, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Elliott, Woodworth & Rogers Family Funeral Home, 35 Green Street, Newburyport. Funeral services will be held Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church, 895 Main Street, West Newbury, followed by a burial in West Parish Cemetery, Andover, where he will be laid to rest with his parents.
Published on June 11, 2018
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3 posts

John Hurst
Nov 08, 2018
Dr. Donovan was a professor of history at KSU when I was a student there, and was always one of my favourites. I am very sorry to hear he has died, and I have many happy memories of discussing history with him.
Anne Johnson
Oct 03, 2018
Kent took me to a father-daughter dinner once for a Girl Scout event in Manhattan Kansas that my real father wasn't able to attend. What a wonderful man.
Barbara Johnson, Annapolis, Maryland
Oct 03, 2018
Kent was beloved by my family. He befriended my parents, the Rev. Julian and Marjorie Johnson, when he became a member of The United Church of Christ, in Manhattan, Kansas. He was a frequent guest at our table, often contributing delicious offerings from his kitchen. My mother used to say there was "no better company than Kent". My sister and I adored him from when we were little into adulthood and affectionately called him "Uncle Donny", a joke he encouraged. To us, Kent was the zenith of style, class, and culture, with a wicked sense of humor.
I last visited him in May, 2011, at his Plum Island home. We had a grand time, and these are photos of that day.
Kent, you gave so much to me, my, and to the world. You lived your life well.Read more