Dr. Kent Alan Anderson, 69, transitioned from this life on July 31, 2022, at his home in Dolores. He passed while surrounded by those who loved him most, his wife Maxine, his sister Nancy, and his children, Jordan and Laura.
Kent was born to Dr. Harold Edward Anderson and Mary Vivian (Spomer) Anderson on December 6, 1952 in Battle Creek, MI. Kent and his two older siblings, Nancy and Bob, spent summers riding their bikes on local fox hunting trails, fishing at a nearby pond, and visiting the Spomer family farm in Oklahoma. He loved to ice skate on the pond in the winter and enjoyed playing trombone in the school band. Kent was a devout member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church throughout his life and has been an active member of the Cortez SDA Church for more than 30 years.
Kent attended Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1975. He was accepted into dental school at Loma Linda University (LLU) in California the following year, and he graduated Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1980 with a degree as well as lifelong friendships and memories. While in dental school, Kent spent a semester working at an LLU-run clinic in Monument Valley, AZ, and resided in Cortez. He fell in love with the Southwest, where he could still enjoy all four seasons, without the overly harsh Michigan winters! He moved to Cortez and worked in a dental practice for several years before taking over the dental clinic in Mancos. He met his wife, Maxine, in 1984 after they were matched through an Adventist dating service. After hitting it off over a series of dates in Southern California, including a picnic hike and a baseball game, Kent’s favorite team, the Detroit Tigers, played Maxine’s favorite team, the California Angels, the two wrote letters, talked on the phone, and maintained a long-distance relationship for year before finally deciding they were ready for the “M-word.” They were married on May 26, 1985, in Van Nuys, CA. Maxine moved from Riverside, CA to Cortez. They welcomed their first son Jordan in 1986 and their daughter Laura two years later and shortly thereafter moved to their Dolores home. Kent and Maxine were supportive and encouraging parents who attended every track and cross country meet and knowledge bowl tournament they could. Kent instilled a love of rock music and nature in his children, and the family spent many weekends zipping across McPhee Reservoir on his speed boat, exploring local ruins with their church community, camping in the summer, and skiing in the winter.
In 1995, Kent sold his Mancos practice and enlisted in the U.S. Public Health Services as a Commission Corp Officer for Indian Health Services (IHS). Over the course of his career for IHS, Kent had the honor of working as a dentist with various American Indian tribes across the Southwest, including at Zuni Pueblo Community Health Center, Acoma-Cañoncito-Laguna Indian Health Center, Four Corners Regional Health Center on the Navajo Reservation in Red Mesa, AZ, and, most recently, the Ute Mountain Health Center in Towaoc. He retired as Captain in the Commission Corp in 2019. Kent touched many, many lives over the course of his career. He loved working with American Indian tribes and learning about their cultures, and he filled his shelves with Kachina dolls, pottery, and fetishes made by local artisans from the various tribes he served.
Kent was a quiet individual with an infectious smile. He had an adventurous spirit, and the Anderson family (including sister Nancy) took many wonderful vacations to various destinations in the U.S. and beyond. In recent years, they travelled to Holland, the UK, Paris, and Hawaii. He was an avid art lover with a beautiful collection of vibrant paintings that cover every inch of the walls of his Dolores home. He was also an artist in his own right, and his family treasures his colorful landscapes and bold still-life paintings as well as his dynamic sculptures and pottery. Christmas was Kent’s favorite holiday, and he loved to decorate the house, both inside and out, with lights and self-painted murals of holiday scenes. The star atop his roof could be seen from miles away, and the Anderson house was always the brightest on the block! He enjoyed working with his hands, building model trains, tending his chicken coop, and working on household projects. Kent and Maxine loved to golf together and took annual trips to Michigan and Florida to check out new golf courses and play on their favorite links. A Michigander till the end, Kent loved all sports Michigan. He rooted for University of Michigan for college football and basketball and mourned each loss of the ever-embattled Detroit Lions. He also loved the Detroit Red Wings, but his favorite team of all was the Detroit Tigers. As an adopted Coloradoan, he also rooted for the Rockies and the Broncos.
Kent is survived by his wife, Maxine Ulyate Anderson; his son, Jordan Robert Anderson; his daughter, Laura Anderson Riley (Nathan Riley); and his sister, Dr. Nancy Jean Anderson (Craig Dove). He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Mary Anderson; and his brother, Robert Stephan Anderson.
Kent’s family would like to thank the amazing team of medical professionals who assisted with his care over the past 13 months and to the compassionate Hospice nurses who so tenderly aided him and his family during his final weeks.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Kent on October 1, 2022, at 4 p.m. at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 540 West 4th Street in Cortez. Donations be made in Kent’s honor to Hospice of Montezuma at www.hospiceofmontezuma.org/giving/ or by calling (970) 565-4400.