By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – His obituary reads: Kenton “Kent” Nelson Potter was born March 28, 1954 in Oklahoma City the son of Jerald Allen and Ezell Glynn (Nelson) Potter. He died on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 in Oklahoma City at the age of 63.
As the news of the always smiling and jovial real estate agent’s death quickly traveled across Facebook and then appeared on several local media online websites, friends and family of Kent Potter were shocked and deeply saddened by their sudden and unexpected loss.
I was first made aware of his passing by Oklahoma City performance artist Sonja Martinez who posted the following sentiment on Facebook, “Kent will be missed by so many, he was funny and a good friend to so many. Our heartfelt condolences go out to family and friends. I will surely miss the presence of a truly lovable and kind person. R.I.P Kent.” August 9, 2017.”
Martinez said, “Kent had such a zest for life. He was always out going, laughing and had a wonderful smile.”
What first grabbed my attention was the photograph of that familiar, glowing face that accompanied Martinez’ post. I knew Kent, and along with so many others, I was stunned.
Kent graduated from Putnam City High School in the class of 1972. He attended Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma City University – the obituary continued.
Oklahoma City resident, Kathryn Fancher posted on Facebook, “Kent and I graduated together from Putnam City HS, his father was our HS Football Coach and both of our Driver’s Ed teacher, we were very proud that day getting our driver’s license! We remained friends from them on, I will miss you my friend.”
Kent enjoyed a successful career as a realtor in Oklahoma City specializing in Nichols Hills and the surrounding area. He had been affiliated with several firms through the years but most recently with Potter and CO team through Metro First Realty.
Fellow dog lover and former news anchor, Cherokee Ballard recalled, “Not only was Kent the ultimate professional in the Oklahoma City area of real estate, but he was the ultimate nice person. He always had a smile, a laugh and ability to make everyone feel welcome. This is a very sad day.”
Kent was preceded in death by his father, Coach Jerald A. “Jerry” Potter.
NewsOK reporter Juliana Keeping wrote, “Kent Potter’s Facebook page shows a man who appreciated vintage cars, the Thunder and vintage photographs of mid-century icons like the Kennedys, Muhammad Ali and Diana Ross. His late father was a prominent local high school football coach. He was a real estate agent who advertised homes in Nichols Hills, a posh Oklahoma City suburb, according to a Facebook business page.” she added.
“Jerry Potter, Kent Potter’s father, was the head football coach at Putnam City High School, according to his 2015 obituary,” Keeping wrote. “The elder Potter won three state championships in the 1970s and gained national recognition for his coaching chops.”
Kent had a passion for historic homes and vintage cars.
Kent and his close friend of three decades, Keven McConnell, were both interested in vintage cars. “We met through mutual friends when I lived in Nichols Hills,” McConnell said. Now living in Los Angeles, Keven works as a real estate agent, a career which he says Kent inspired him to pursue.
“Kent Potter was an extraordinary person and a really good friend,” McConnell stated. “He always went the extra mile to create laughter and fun. He was a genius prankster and pulled some really good ones. His love of fine things was obvious the first time I met him 30 years ago. He gave me vision that I never had before and I learned to appreciate the finer things as well…classic cars, art, architecture, movies, music and most of all people. He was a great person and will be missed by many.”
The Oklahoman reported that Potter was a friend of the late Oklahoma City philanthropist and founder of the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, Jackie Cooper. The article stated that Potter supported OACF year-round and regularly attended the annual Red Tie fundraiser for the non-profit group that helps people with AIDS.
Upon hearing the sad news, a post on the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund Facebook page read, “We are devastated to learn of the death of one of our long-time supporters, Kent Potter. Our Board of Directors, Red Tie Night volunteers, and staff send our deepest sympathies to Mr. Potter’s family and friends.”
In response to that post, Oklahoma City resident and Red Tie volunteer Maggie Chaney wrote: “I’m so absolutely sad to hear this. Kent was fabulous to work with during the Red Tie Night events. He gave so much support to make this foundation flourish and be successful.y prayers are for strength to help his family through their loss.”
Katie Lampkin, who had one of the longest relationships with Potter said, “Kent had a willingness to go beyond the limits of quiet good taste, always an enthusiasm for surprise and unexpected mixtures of life. He embraced each and every one of us as if we were his best friend,” she said. “He was the sweetest part of life that always transcended stylishness.
“Kent Potter and his longtime friend of 40 years, Berton Grubb, both had style,” Lampkin continued “Kent was always a step ahead of us for the eye of beauty, trend, people, food and of course politics. He will always be in someone’s daily conversation from here on speaking of his love for life. He is missed.”
Lampkin referred to Potter as “Our movie star that didn’t make it to Hollywood,” noting that “he sure was a star in Oklahoma.” She added, “I was thinking back over the 50 years of our relationship –he has taken with him many memories of my life growing up.
“This was a self made man, who started at the age of 15 working at the Quail Creek Country Club pool,” where Katie fondly said she and her sisters ‘tortured’ him.” “I was a nerd and the bratty kid that liked him.”
Katie’s sister Julee Coyle said, “Katie and Kent have been friends since junior high, if not longer. They always remained very close and have been through a lot of things together.” With a smile in her voice Julee reminisced that Kent and Katie would be dancing, and “without warning, he would flip her over.
“Kent often said ‘I love the Lampkin girls’,” Julee added.
Oklahoma City attorney and former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth had kind words of remembrance for Potter, “”I first met Kent in 1994 and was immediately impressed with his sense of style, wit and humor. He always had a strong resilience, an appreciation for great architecture and the ‘finer things,’ and will be missed.”
About Potter, reporter Jonathan Cooper wrote, “friends who have known him for years tell KOCO they lost a wonderful man and kind soul.”
Kent is survived by his mother, Mrs. Ezell Potter of Edmond, OK; his brother, Kevin Potter and his wife Dorea of Bartlesville, OK; his nephews, Dr. Heath Potter and his wife Chapel, Kaleb Potter and his wife Taylor and Brent Potter and his wife Nicole; great nieces and nephews.
I’m not sure exactly where I first met Kent, but I do remember seeing him each year during the fall at the Pooch Parade at Grand Boulevard Park in Nichols Hills. An avid dog lover, he had many furry companions. I last saw Kent this spring and it’s hard to imagine that he is gone. A very kind and upbeat person is what I will always remember.
The obituary concluded – For those who desire, memorials may be made to the charity of one’s choice.