Kent W. Phelps, 76

Kent W. Phelps, 76, Blackfoot, passed Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 in Pocatello, surrounded by family after a battle with an illness.
He was born on Aug. 30, 1936, in Montpelier to Justin Walter Phelps and Opal Lucille Oakey. Kent met his true love, Nancy Ann Olsen, through a penpal courtship through a military serviceman’s newsletter and they were married on Aug. 3, 1957. They had recently celebrated 55 years together.
Kent joined the Air Force in 1953 at 17 and retired after 20 years. He received many awards and decorations for his dedicated service, splitting his time between administration and flight operations over the course of four overseas tours. His favorite tour was in Germany where he and Nancy enjoyed living in the German countryside and traveling with their family.
After retiring from the armed services, he began working for the Idaho Department of Commerce and Labor. For over 35 years his passion was serving the communities, employers, and veterans of Idaho. He received national, state, and local awards for his service to his fellow veterans, including the governor’s Spirit of Freedom Award. He volunteered with the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars and always enjoyed working with the local youth, placing hundreds of Memorial Day flags at the Grove City Cemetery and participating in local schools’ Veteran’s Day Assemblies.
Kent loved sharing his time with friends and family. He always had a fish tale or a joke to share with his friends over a cup of coffee. He collected cameras and loved photography, fishing at Chesterfield, and he never passed up an opportunity to go flying with his friend Gary. Kent will be remembered for his gracious giving character, his always present smile, and his wittiness at delivering the punch line to a joke. He will be missed by his family, who all considered him a hero, and his countless friends in the Blackfoot community.
Kent is survived by his wife, Nancy of Blackfoot; two sons, Douglas Phelps of Blackfoot, and Shawn Phelps of Pocatello; two daughters Vicki (Craig) Stephenson of Maryland Heights, Mo., and Cecile (Rich) Lewis of Key West, Fla.; nine grandchildren, Mike, Sara, Kathryn, Andrea, William, Tyler, Brandon, Alyson, and Conrad; three great-grandchildren, Jarid, Scarlett, and Stella.
Kent was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Justin “Judd” Walter Phelps, and three grandchildren, Dana Marie, Paul Andrew, and Jason Butch Phelps.
So distant family and friends may attend, there will be a memorial service and military rites held Nov. 3, 2012, tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m., at the Blackfoot American Legion Hall. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been set up through KeyBank to help cover the cost of funeral services and hospital care. Donations are appreciated and can be made at any KeyBank under the Kent Phelps Memorial Fund.
Please share your memories, stories, or condolences with Kent’s family through email at