Late teacher leaves legacy

Staff report

SIDNEY — The late Kent Smith, of Sidney, was widely known as a caring Sidney High School teacher, dedicated volunteer and talented performer.

He also quietly planned how he would provide lasting gifts to benefit organizations he valued and Shelby County students intending to follow his career path.

Smith, who died Feb. 28, 2017, after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer, left the majority of his estate to the Community Foundation of Shelby County to establish the Kent R. Smith Fund. The fund will provide annual grants to 10 local organizations and several scholarships to education majors. Grants and scholarship awards are expected to begin in 2018.

“Kent contacted me in 2004 after his cancer diagnosis, wanting to get his affairs in order,” said Marian Spicer, Community Foundation executive director. “Over the years, he kept reworking a dormant fund agreement until our lunch last July, when he told me he didn’t want to make any more adjustments. He felt comfortable with what he was going to do.”

The Kent R. Smith Fund will provide annual grants to Agape Distribution, Alpha Community Center, Compassionate Care of Shelby County, Munch Bunch program at First Presbyterian Church, Sidney, Gateway Arts Council, New Choices Inc., Shelby County Historical Society, Shelby County United Way, Sidney Civic Band and Wilson Health Foundation for the Hospice program.

The fund will also award scholarships to Shelby County residents who have surpassed college freshman status and are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. Smith’s wish was that several $1,000 awards be issued each year from the fund.

“Kent was practical about his mortality, yet he persisted to volunteer and help others, despite setbacks,” said Spicer. “His positive nature and witty humor made him such a pleasure to know. He is missed, but will always be remembered through his ongoing gifts to the community.”

The Community Foundation of Shelby County administers 168 charitable funds with a combined value of more than $30 million. Information is available at or calling 497-7800.

Staff report