Kent Salyer was born in Coolidge Arizona to Virgil and Lucille Salyer. While Virgil was serving in the Army, his wife purchased a property near Cedaredge, Colorado. Lucille took a gamble and purchased a cabin in Colby Canyon, and this home meant a lot to Kent. He was determined to return to Cedaredge one day.
Kent and his family would eventually move to Delta. He graduated from Delta High School in 1960. He attended Western State College in Gunnison for one year prior to joining the United States Marine Corp on September 11, 1961. During his service he was stationed on the US Navy aircraft carrier the USS YORKTOWN. It was then he started to write letters to his future wife, Linda Eckert, also of Delta. The couple married in July of 1963. They moved immediately to Long Beach California where Kent was stationed. The couple later moved to Oceanside, CA where they welcomed their son, Dan, in 1965.
Later that year, Kent was Honorably discharged from the Marine Corp, and they returned to Gunnison, Colorado. He completed his BA in Education in 1968 and accepted a teaching/coaching position in Mesa County. Kent was always moving, planning, and having adventures. Kent and Linda welcomed two daughters, Jami (1967) and Jodi (1969). He returned to Western State and graduated with his MA in Education in 1972.
The family spent 10 years in Canon City. Kent taught Industrial Arts at the high school and coached wrestling. His Vocational Carpentry program was cutting edge at that time. The first “home” his students built was on a trailer in the high school parking lot. The program later developed an entire subdivision where students received “hands on” educational experience. The program earned state recognition multiple times to include “outstanding quality and organization.” He wanted to be sure his children had the same opportunity. The family built their first home in Canon City and several years later would build a home in Paonia.
In 1982 Kent accepted a job at Paonia High School. Paonia was closer to Surface Creek, and his goal of moving back to Cedaredge. It took him 34 years, but finally he settled back in Cedaredge in 1984. Kent coached, taught, counseled, and created programs in Cedaredge for the next several years. After “retiring” he taught and coached in Montrose, Olathe, Delta, and New Mexico. However, he kept his primary residence in Cedaredge. He loved the town and the sport. Kent coached for the last time at Cedaredge Middle School at the age of 75. When Kent set a goal, he always made it a reality.
In 1990, Kent and Linda began traveling to Angoon, Alaska to visit his son Dan’s family. Kent and Linda fell in love with the tiny island. Dan purchased a property on the island, and Kent was only too happy to be building again. In 1997 Kent and Linda purchased a lot on the beach and built their own cabin, and they have spent every summer since 1997 on Admiralty Island in Alaska. It is there that the family comes together to work, fish, laugh, love and create memories. Their 12 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren enjoy the time they get to spend with their grandparents in Alaska.
Kent’s passion was wrestling and inspiring teenagers. His wrestlers were successful both in the wrestling rooms and in life. His Canon City wrestling team, that included his son Dan, took 8 to state in 1981. As an educator and coach, Kent was a compassionate advocate for students. He was a defender of the less fortunate and a champion for all. He never gave up!
Most important to Kent was to be a dedicated husband and father. He devoted his life to serving and developing those around him and making sure to show his love for his family. He passed away in his home after a long battle with Lewy Body Dementia.
He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Linda. His brother Dan (Vicky) of Bullhead City Arizona. His son Dan (Kay) Salyer of Alaska. His daughters; Jami Salyer of Colorado, and Jodi (Walter) Lay of Arizona. His 12 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren who are the joy of his life.
Kent was preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Lucille Salyer and his sister Sue Salyer.
A celebration of life will be held at Cedaredge High School on April 1, 2023 at 10 am.
Sincere gratitude from the family to the Veterans Administration, and the Hospice staff for their exceptional support throughout his illness.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to continue his legacy to Cedaredge High School Wrestling. Checks can be sent to 575 SE Deer Creek Dr. Cedaredge, CO 81413. 970-856-6882.