Kent Ray Petersen, Emery County’s cowboy poet, engineer, rancher, veteran, and adventurer was born in 1935 and raised in Ferron, UT and graduated from Emery High School. His earliest memories are the dusty smell of cattle, and his life’s ambition was to be a cowboy.
Kent served in the U.S. Army in 1954, trained as a radio operator. He came home on leave, swept his sweetheart Janet off her feet, and married shortly after.
After his service, he graduated June 1969 with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Utah. He quickly put this degree to work at Hill Air Force Base for 16 years, managing the base corrosion program and serving on the design advisory boards for the F-4 and F-16 airplanes and the Minuteman and MX missiles. Kent was always proud of the value and importance of education.
In 1968, Kent bought the last 190-acre parcel of land from his father, Kermit, to fulfill his dream of becoming a rancher and cowboy. The family started to spend weekends in Ferron, farming and raising quarter horses. Kent’s favorite place was to be on his horse Sunny, riding in the blue hills of Emery County. He taught all his children and grandchildren to ride, but his greatest joy was riding Ol’ Blue with his grandson Alec.
In 1979 Kent worked at the Hunter Plant in Emery County as an environmental engineer, and quickly rose to plant engineer in charge of engineering and the laboratory.
During his time in Ferron, he was elected as Chairman of the Emery County Commission in 1992 and served for many years on many state and county boards. Kent led the creation of the Emery County Public Lands Council, that met with the BLM, Forest Service, and various state agencies in an effort to preserve the San Rafael Swell forever.
Kent absorbed his experiences throughout life, and it comes out in his writing about all sorts of topics like power plants, summer pastures, missiles, and far more in a ballad-like form spiked with humor. He became Utah’s State Poet, and often read the many poems he had written to his family around a dimly lit fire on the farm. He was not just a farmer, he was not just an engineer, he truly found excitement in learning and pursuing so many aspects of life. He has the edge on the ordinary run of cowboys because of his sophisticated experiences.
Kent is survived by his loving wife, Janet Petersen, their children, Jill (Jim) Sevy, Jeff (Andrea) Petersen, Kara (Steve) Perry, and Chris Petersen, their 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren who all adored him. He often talked about the accomplishments and milestones of his family and was very proud of them. He is preceded in death by his mother, Velma, father, Kermit, brother, Don, and grandson, Alec.
A Graveside Service will be held in the Ferron City Cemetery on Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 1:00 pm. Services are entrusted to Fausett Mortuary. Friends and family may visit the online guestbook and share a memory of Kent at: www.fausettmortuary.com.