Memorable Manitobans: George Edward Kent (1915-2007)
Singer, choir conductor.
Born at Winnipeg on 17 October 1915, only child of Thomas Edward Kent (1889-1924) and Ena Irene Valverdi Cameron (1891-1982), a lifelong passion for singing began as a tenor soprano at St. Luke's Anglican Church (1934-1935) before moving to Vancouver for further studies. On 26 June 1942, he married nurse Gwen Lewis (1918-1997) shortly before he left for Great Britain with the Royal Canadian Air Force (1942-1945). During his time there, he sang on BBC Radio. After their return to Winnipeg, the couple had two sons and a daughter.
During the late 1940s and 1950s, he was a recitalist and soloist in Winnipeg. He was also choirmaster (1945-1958) at Knox United Church and conducted the Winnipeg Male Voice Choir (1955-1957). He was a robust operatic singer and was once considered one of Canada’s finest tenors. He was memorable in Elijah, the Bach Passions, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. Active in Rotary International, he helped to fundraise for various charities.
He retired to Victoria, British Columbia where he died 16 December 2007.
Birth and death registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Thomas E. Kent dies; was well known tenor,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 December 1924, page 9.
Death registration [Ena Irene Valverdi Matthews], British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Gwen Kent], Winnipeg Free Press, 16 August 1997, page 51.
George Kent, The Canadian Encyclopedia.
We thank Tom Kent for providing additional information used here.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 3 November 2021