Kent was born in Wichita, Kansas and moved to Chicago, Illinois at the age of one. After graduating from Lane Tech High School, he attended the University of Illinois where he was a James Scholar and a member of Skull and Crescent, a University scholastic fraternity. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Management and served as the Treasurer of the University’s Student Senate. Following graduation, Kent enrolled in the University of Illinois College of Law from which he graduated in two and a half years earning a Doctorate of Jurisprudence.
Kent began practicing law in 1968 in Peoria, Illinois with the law firm of Swain, Johnson & Gard. That firm changed its name in 1996, and became Johnson, Bunce & Noble, P.C. A rare occasion today, Kent spent his entire career with one law firm, having focused primarily in estate planning, trusts, and probate.
In law, Kent’s knowledge of his primary practice areas earned him a reputation as being one of Illinois’ best estate and probate attorneys. He was selected as an AV Preeminent Attorney, the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating. In addition, his peers named him as a “Leading Lawyer”, a designation held by only the top five percent of attorneys in Illinois in that practice area and he is currently serving as a member of the Leading Lawyers Advisory Board. Additionally, Kent was selected for inclusion in the first edition of Leading American Attorneys in Illinois Estate, Tax and Real Estate Lawyers & Law.
Kent was honored and privileged to be selected as the president of seven different organizations, including: the six hundred member Peoria County Bar Association, the three hundred member Downtown Rotary Club of Peoria, the former Willow Knolls Country Club, Prairie State Legal Services, the Greater Peoria Legal Aid Society, the Central Illinois Legal Aid Society, and our law firm, Johnson, Bunce & Noble, P.C.
Behind every successful attorney is a supportive partner, and Kent is no exception. Kent and his wife, Bonnie, have been blessed with three daughters and five grandsons. Bonnie is the current Executive Director of the Peoria Park District and will be retiring in April.
While retirement is truly deserved, Kent will be missed at JBN. However, he will remain a friend of the firm, readily lending his expertise and knowledge when called upon.