Land And Water U.S.A.

Sunday, July 3, 2022



Kent Stegner

March 18, 1924-Dec. 23, 2012

Age: 88

Residence: Greeley

Kent Frederick Stegner, 88, died Dec. 23, 2012, at Life Care Center of Greeley. Kent was born March 18, 1924, in Tulsa, Okla., to Walter C. Stegner and Sarah Little Stegner.

Kent lived a life of adventure and hard work. As a boy in Tulsa, he and his friends explored all the creeks, rivers and hills in their surroundings. Kent obtained his first paid job as a newspaper route carrier at age 11, which he kept until age 18. Each summer until he was 13, he and his family would drive to Frewsburg, N.Y., to visit his grandparents and other relatives. He eagerly took on the workload of helping on the family farm, by driving the hay wagon, scooping chaff, working in the milk barn and hauling logs from the Allegheny Mountains. Kent spent two summers in Pinedale and Boulder, Wyo., when he was 16 and 17, working as a cowboy on the Milford Steele and Verna Preebe ranches. He learned how to ride and break a horse, ride to the mountain pasture to bring back the remuda, trail the cowherd and work in the hay fields. Kent had a love for farming, ranching and agriculture, which would last throughout his life.

After graduating from Tulsa Central High School in 1941, Kent spent one year at Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University). World War II broke out and he joined the Marine Corps in 1942. Kent was a Marine paratrooper in the 1st Marine Parachute Regiment and 5th Marine Division, A Company, 1st Battalion, 28th Regiment. He trained rigorously in the elite forces at Camp Gillespie, Calif. His campaigns in the Pacific included New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Vella Lavella, Bougainville, the consolidation of the northern Solomon Islands, the entire 36 days of Iwo Jima, and the occupation of Japan. After an honorable discharge as platoon sergeant from the Marine Corps in 1945, Kent returned to Stillwater, Okla., to resume his studies at Oklahoma Aggies. He graduated with a degree in animal husbandry in 1948.

During Kent’s final years in college, he met Frances Whetstine and they were married in 1946. The couple had their first daughter before moving to Denver in 1948, when Kent obtained work at the Denver Stock Yards. He worked for Armour & Co., John Clay & Co. and was an independent cattle trader. He travelled all over Colorado and the West buying and selling cattle. Kent had joined the Marine Corps Reserves after World War II and was recalled in 1951 for the Korean War. He served as an infantry tactics instructor at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1952. He returned to Denver to continue his career. He became well known in the cattle industry and was later offered a job as fat cattle salesman by Ben Duke for Producers Livestock in Greeley in 1962. While Kent was at the Denver Stock Yards in 1949, he participated in the largest run of cattle (35,000 head) in the Denver Stock Yard’s history.

The family had now grown to three daughters and moved to Greeley in 1964. Kent worked for Producers Livestock in Greeley for more than 20 years. He started as the fat cattle salesman and progressed to fat cattle manager, yard manager, general manager and regional manager. He formed his own one-man cattle company, the Figure 4 Cattle Co. in 1984. Kent continued doing what he loved most until he retired at age 78 in 2002. He made many friends during his years in the cattle business. He was well respected and trusted throughout the West by those in the industry. He was generous to his employees and friends, and loved by many. He would often invite a lonely cattle trucker to his home for Thanksgiving dinner.

During Kent’s lifetime he enjoyed being in the outdoors and spent time with his family by taking them on many adventures in the mountains and to visit the farms and ranches across Colorado and surrounding states. He instilled his love of the land in his three daughters. Kent was also an avid fisherman, spending time in the mountain streams in Walden, Colo., while taking time off from soliciting cattle in that region.

He was an efficient woodworker, enjoyed reading, took pride in his lawn and loved his vegetable garden; he freely gave away his tomatoes to friends and family. Kent was a great lover of jazz music. While living in the Denver area, he took piano lessons from a well-known jazz pianist and loved to play “Pennies from Heaven” for his family. He was a longtime member of the Association of Survivors-1st Marine Parachute Regiment, and attended many reunions of the organization throughout the country. Kent continued to drive to Producers to have coffee with his friends after retirement. He also joined the Union Colony Marine Corps League in Greeley. There he found many more friends with whom he had much in common. He enjoyed attending the meetings, functions and passing out cookies once a month to veterans at the Veteran’s Hospital in Denver. They all loved hearing the stories Kent would tell of his World War II experiences, as he had a remarkable memory for details. Kent will be greatly missed.

Mr. Stegner was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Carl L. Stegner; and wife, Frances, in 2002. His daughter, Holly Frances Stegner, died March 25, 2013.

Kent is survived by his daughters, Sara Stegner Smith (James) of Colorado Springs, and LuAnne Stegner (Lance Mangham) of Strasburg; his granddaughter, Amanda Smith of Monument; and his step-granddaughter, Abigail Mangham of Strasburg.

Cremation was performed. A military funeral will take place at 2 p.m. Friday June 7, 2013, at Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colo. A celebration memorial service for Kent will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 9, 2013, at the Greeley VFW Pioneer Post 2121, 2514 7th Ave., Greeley.


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