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Donald “Kent” Bristol

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Donald “Kent” Bristol, former village manager of Yellow Springs for 15 years, has passed away in Lakeland, Florida. Kent was 82 years old.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Catherine “Nancy” Noonan; his two sons, Kirk and Derek Bristol; his two stepsons, Michael and Matthew Noonan; and his two sisters, Pam Bristol and Jill Mogg.

Kent was raised in Fenton, Michigan, by his father, who was an electrician, and his mother, who was a homemaker and a schoolteacher. Kent had two younger sisters, Pam and Jill. After graduating high school, Kent completed a political science and public administration bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University and further studied in the field at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. Kent held city manager positions in Weatherly, Pennsylvania; Hellertown, Pennsylvania; and Weirton, West Virginia, before coming to Yellow Springs in 1979. Kent served the community as village manager until 1994.  He then did a brief stint in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, as city manager, before returning to live again in Yellow Springs. He worked the remaining 10 years of his career as the executive director of the Miami Valley Cable Council. Kent retired in 2005, but emerged from retirement at the age of 72 in 2013 to fill in as the interim village manager of Yellow Springs while Village Council searched for a permanent replacement. He was honored to serve the community that he loved and lived in for decades.

Kent was an avid bicyclist, and worked hard on the purchase of the right of way to the Penn Central Railroad line that he then pushed to become the Little Miami Scenic Trail. He also spearheaded a major upgrade to the local wastewater treatment plant and the move of the Village offices and police department to the current Bryan Center location.

In retirement, Kent could be seen walking his two silky terriers daily in the downtown area, using the dog walks as an opportunity to socialize with friends in the community. Kent and Nancy also traveled extensively during this time, taking long trips to Europe, Africa and Australia. As Kent started to have mobility issues, he and Nancy relocated to Lakeland, Florida, for the warm year-round weather and their ability to then get out daily. While they made many new friends in Florida, they have always thought of Yellow Springs as their home.

Both Kent and Nancy were hospitalized recently for COVID and complications from the virus. Both were in rehab when Kent passed from natural causes on Oct. 16.

Public services for Kent were held in Lakeland, Florida, at the Florida Presbyterian Homes chapel, on Saturday, Oct. 28.


One Response to “Donald “Kent” Bristol”

  1. Kirk Bristol says:

    Growing up in YS with the Village Manager as my father was sometimes a challenge. Nobody knew my name, I was always just “Kent’s son.” It did help me though when pulled over twice by Village police for minor infractions and only getting a slap on the wrist. I guess it helped that it was my father’s signature on their paychecks! 🙂 I remember my father as being a strong leader and that has encouraged me also to take on leadership roles in my work. Kent was always a great role model to me and a source of seemingly endless wisdom. I could always lean on him for counsel and guidance. I love you Dad and miss you dearly. Rest in peace.

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