Mark Baruch Kent, 55, of Greenville, died unexpectedly Sunday, September 24, 2017.
Mark was born in Philadelphia, PA on September 12, 1962, and became the adopted son of the late W. Tom Kent and Elaine Baruch Kent. He was a beloved son, husband, father, business leader and philanthropist in the Upstate of South Carolina, with a legacy reaching far beyond.
Mark became well known for his devotion to family and extended family. He is survived by his loving wife, Kimberly Varnadoe Kent, by two daughters, Ann Alexander Kent and Amelia Catherine Kent; two sons, Mark Thompson Kent and Henry Varnadoe Kent; and a sister, Phyllis Kent Barber.
In addition to his father, Mark was preceded in death by his oldest brother, W. Tom Kent, Jr.
Mark became the fifth generation of Kents to direct the family business. He served as Chairman, President and CEO of Kentwool, Inc. and it thrived under Mark's leadership, with divisions including the 174 year old KENTWOOL, a state-of-the-art wool based yarn spinning operation, KENTWOOL Performance, the engine behind the World's Best Golf Sock and the developer of products and relationships reaching into the PGA and LPGA and other iconic brands in America, and KENTWOOL Development, the division in which Mark lived out a passion for historic preservation in the city he loved, having owned and renovated the old Chamber building and the Cigar Factory on East Court Street in Greenville. Each is on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
But his business family remembers best his kindness, his generosity, his infectious smile, and his exceptional character. Mark lived a life celebrated for his commitment to his customers and his employees, as well as the countless people he served quietly as a philanthropist and public servant.
Mark's public life includes a lifetime of service on many boards including the board of the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association Upstate Heart Ball. He earned the honor of Red Cross Philanthropist of the Year in an eight-state Southeast region. Mark also gave his time to Christ Church Episcopal School, the South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control, the State Ports Authority and most recently the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Mark served also on the boards of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (formerly South Carolina Textile Manufacturers Alliance) and the Historic Greenville Foundation.
Mark became a Liberty Fellow - a prestigious leadership seminar - in 2006 as a member of its inaugural class. Mark believed in kindness and generosity -- providing education, opportunity and maintaining cutting-edge vision both in textiles and other areas of business and life.
Mark graduated from Christ Church Episcopal School, Wake Forest University, where he made lifelong friends in the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, and the Clemson University School of Textiles. He was a loyal and devoted fan to his beloved Demon Deacons. Aside from Wake Forest, his other love was golf. His future on the links would evolve into membership in the Pine Valley Golf Club, Merion Golf Club, Biltmore Forest Country Club and Greenville Country Club. Mark's love of golf led him to make history in the sock business simply by getting blisters, walking mountain courses during the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Those sore feet gave birth to the legendary Kentwool golf sock. He was a raconteur, loving to tell the story of its humble beginning, and his own.
But Mark's greatest legacy is forged in the hearts of those who loved him, and those he loved. Those who knew him knew his proudest accomplishment in life was being a father to his four wonderful children.
Mark was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
A memorial service will be held at the church Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to American Heart Association, 156 Milestone Way, Suite A, Greenville, SC 29615 or to the charity of your choice
SEP 28. 03:00 PM
Westminster Presbyterian Church
2310 Augusta Road
Greenville, SC, US, 29605