Wildcat Tracks: Kent Kehr ’78

Looking at Westminster’s history, some names echo through the halls with reverence—names that have stood the test of time, marking the journey from its beginnings. One of these names stands out: Kent Kehr. Not just for his longevity here but for his indelible mark on our school community: a legacy of service, dedication, and unwavering faith.

Old year book photo in black and white of a young man in suit and tie smiling at the camera.
Kent Kehr 1978 senior yearbook photo.

Kent, alongside his twin brother Chris, is well known as one of the first students at Westminster. He reminisces about the early days when the school was just getting started. “Psalm 119:105 depicts someone traveling a path with God giving them just enough light to step forward but not enough to see the whole path,” Kent said. “So with trepidation and some hesitation, Chris and I, as well as 72 others, entered the halls and classrooms of Missouri Baptist, unsure about the future of this experiment. God’s provision and goodness prevailed, and I am thankful to be where this school is now. I look back and want to underscore the impact of the relationships God provided in those days that completely changed who I was and helped me to establish my identity in Christ. Starting with Mom, who guided (Insisted? Required? Pushed?) us to enroll, classmates who became lifelong friends, and, most importantly, the faculty whose care and focus on each of us swept away all those questions and fears.”

Perhaps Kent’s biggest claim to fame from those early days was helping to decide Westminster’s school colors. “I’d like to think I was more of an influencer, and a cheap one at that, rather than the originator of school colors. Having just spent $70 on my letter jacket (at Ladue High School), I tried to steer the nine others in the class of ‘78 in the room that day towards blue and white.” It was his experience as a student that solidified Kent’s family’s choice to attend this school. “Almost every teacher I had was intentional about getting to know me beyond shallow conversations about unimportant things. God used each teacher to reveal a character trait that needed to change or grow in His direction. John Boles, the music teacher, had this raucous joy that seemed to bubble over into the room. He would hammer away at a James Ward song on the piano, and I’d watch the piano bounce to the beat. That just demonstrated that I didn’t have to be the shy kid I was normally, and stepping out a bit was not that dangerous”, Kent said. “Sherry Blough was so kind; Mike Marcy made the study of Doctrine cool; Don Beebe was a coach who showed respect and developed character. Hans Deutchmann, our German teacher, showed us life as a Christian, even inviting the whole class to his small trailer to have an authentic German dinner with his whole family.”

“The biggest life lesson I gained while a student at Westminster is that whatever I thought my perceived character weaknesses were, God uses me anyway to show His strength and that walking with someone (student, coworker, wife, and family) in their Christ path changes both of you forever.”

After graduating from Mizzou, Kent returned to Westminster and transitioned from student to faculty member. He wore many hats, from business manager to tech director, but his favorite role was that of a swim coach. “The day-to-day interactions with swimmers and divers, with the other coaches (currently and most notably Marjan Kempen, Andrew Schonhoff, Steve Braun) bring a level of fun and joy that my otherwise dull work-life needs regularly,” Kent explains. “I never thought I’d be here this long! My staying had nothing to do with how good I was at anything, which was average at best. Still, it was the encouragement, support, and connections throughout the WCA community (coworkers, parents, students, and my family) and the desire to see lives changed for Christ.”

As Kent prepares to bid farewell to his 37-year tenure at Westminster, he looks forward to a new chapter filled with family, adventure, and, of course, swimming. “Family is first. I love my kids and my wife, so it’s time I dedicated more of myself to them, especially with weddings and a grandchild on the way! Also, I’d like to see the world and discover if anything out there is more fun than a pool and a computer.” Those of us on campus will still be able to see Kent now and then. “I’ll still be around swimming and, for now, an assistant bus driver for the girls swim team!” Kent’s presence will be remembered by the memories shared with generations of students whose lives he has touched. As our school community bids farewell to one of its favorite staff members, it does so with gratitude for a life lived in service of a greater purpose.

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