Richard Romald Kentro

Date of Birth

June 27, 1919

Date of Death

August 27, 2023

City of Death

Santa Barbara, CA

Richard Ramold Kentro, born in 1919 in Gardner, Massachusetts, passed away on August 27, 2023, age 104 years, at home with family in Santa Barbara, California. Dick is remembered for his kindness, industriousness, and zest for life.

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Dick’s parents left farming life in Birzai, Lithuania, slept alone on the floors of ships and settled in Lithuanian communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts. They found each other and had three kids who fished to put food on the table, gathered clinkers and twigs to heat their home, and hit the movies with every spare nickel.

After his father’s death during the Depression, Dick’s family moved to Detroit, where he joined the Henry Ford Trade School and rose through the ranks of Ford Motor Company. In 1941, Dick married his sweetheart, Lois Root, and raised two sons, Richard Arthur and James Lorne, and a daughter, Linda Gay.

During World War II, Dick conducted quality control on war equipment for Ford Motor Company. In 1970 he served one year as the Plant Manager of the Ford Ball Bearing Plant, Puerto Rico, and solved their persistent production problems. Dick was then promoted to Manager of Manufacturing Engineering for Ford’s Chassis Division, Detroit, where he was responsible for production at all seven Ford chassis parts plants – a career goal since 18 years of age.

In 1975, he retired early to care for his wife’s parents on their avocado ranch in San Diego County, California. He built a home on the same property, planted more commercial orchards, and served as the Chairman of the county’s Twin Oaks Community Sponsor Group.

Retirement opened up travel, including visiting their daughter in Asia where Dick and Lois kayaked at Railay Beach and wandered through the Chatuchak Market, in Thailand. In Nepal, Dick grabbed the ears and stood on the trunk to mount an elephant in the Terai, danced to the drums of mahouts around a campfire, watched skilled Nepali foresters dart and collar a rhino for science, and enjoyed Kathmandu.

After the passing of Lois, Dick moved to Santa Barbara in 2011 to live with his son, Richard, and daughter-in-law, Susan. In his last year, Dick still found great joy in movies, loved a hard-fought game of gin rummy, and in his last days, he charmed the hospice nurses with stories from his life. The family is grateful to the hospice workers who guided them to create conditions for Dick to pass on with his trademark gentle dignity.

Dick is survived by his son Richard (wife Susan), daughter Linda (husband James), daughter-in-law Margaret, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Most of his peers and many cherished family members passed on before him; we hope his onward path includes communion with them.


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