Kent Bryon Cook, 74, passed away Nov. 29, 2023, in St. George, Utah, of natural causes. Kent was born Jan. 11, 1949, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Vardis Marion Cook and Evelyn Afton Nelson. Kent married Debra (Debbie) Wood June 23, 1972, in the Salt Lake LDS temple. They are the parents of eight children and 27 grandchildren.
Kent was an avid hiker, backpacker and runner. Kent and Debbie raised their family in the Salt Lake area where Kent spent most weekends traversing the Wasatch Mountains with his children in tow. Once they were old enough, Kent took each child on an 80-mile backpacking trip along the Uinta Highline Trail and over King’s Peak. Kent’s son Eric was awarded his Eagle merit badge atop King’s Peak in a special scout ceremony.
Family vacations often centered around camping and hiking. Kent was the ultimate outdoorsman long before it was trendy. He dehydrated his meals and devised make-shift packing gear when needed resources were unavailable. As a result of his experience, Kent’s children learned how to sleep on the ground, tackle unexpected weather and face backcountry obstacles with grit. Anytime anyone asked how much longer they had to hike, he always responded, “Only 100 yards to the top!” We all learned to stop asking.
Kent also loved running and completed over 25 marathons. His love for the St. George Marathon inspired he and Debbie to move to Ivins in 2005. In recent years, Kent could be seen walking the West Canyon Trail in Snow Canyon State Park with his homemade walking stick in hand. He walked his favorite 4-mile trail the day before his passing and was happily active to the end of his life.
In addition to his athletic hobbies, Kent loved woodworking and donated over 200 pinewood derby cars to local youth. He held pinewood derby races for residents at the Ivins Veteran’s Home and organized community derby races — all with handmade cars he designed and donated. Nothing made him happier than watching several of his cars blast down the track, nose to nose. He then scrutinized winning cars to configure the absolute fastest design possible.
Professionally, Kent ran his own real estate brokerage in the Salt Lake area and was known as honest and hard-working. Often, when he sold new homes, Kent would offer a landscaping package and then employ his children to lay sod or help him install a sprinkling system to teach them how to work. After moving to Southern Utah, Kent worked at Ivins city until his retirement in August 2022.
Throughout his life, Kent served diligently in various ward, stake and leadership callings. He served an LDS mission in Sydney, Australia from 1968-70. In August 2023, Kent and Debbie began a full-time mission together, which had always been a personal goal. They were serving as missionaries in the St. George area at the time of his passing.
Kent is survived by his wife Debbie and seven children Kristen Cook Nelson, Amber Cook Thompson, David Kent Cook, Cami Cook Ellis, Jonathan Swenson Cook, Hillary Cook Kirschman and Eric Nelson Cook. He is preceded in death by his son Scott Ryan Cook; a sister Nancy Cook Dolle and both parents.
Funeral services will be Friday, Dec. 8, at 11 a.m. at the Padre Canyon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ivins, Utah. Visitation will precede the funeral from 9:30-10:45 a.m. on Friday. Interment will be at Ivins City Cemetery under the direction of McMillan Mortuary, 435-688-8880.
In lieu of flowers, Kent’s family has requested loved ones donate to a charity of their choice.
Condolences may be shared on the McMillan Mortuary website.