Mr Edward Austin Kent was born in Bangor, Penobscot , Maine on 19 February 1854.
He was the son of Henry Mellen Kent (1823-1894), a dry goods merchant, and Harriet Ann Farnham (1830-1908), natives of Merrimack, New Hampshire and Kennebec, Maine respectively who had married around 1850. He was the brother of: Ellen M. (1852-1904), Charles J. (b. 1855), William W. (b. 1859), Charlotte M. (b. 1863), Nora B. (b. 1867).
He first appears on the 1860 census living in Bangor and he and his family later moved to New York around 1865, showing up on the 1870 and 1880 censuses living in Buffalo, Erie County where his father was a partner in Flint & Kent, a large department store.
A graduate of Yale and also educated at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Edward became an architect and later a junior partner in the Syracuse, New York firm of Sillsbee and Kent before returning to Buffalo where he was involved in the founding of the Buffalo Society of Architects. A bachelor and distinguished architect in his city, he had offices at Ellicott Square and resided at the Buffalo Club. He was responsible for the design of many buildings in Buffalo and also further afield, having designed the Board of Trade building in Toronto, Ontario and in 1897 designed the new building for Flint & Kent when that store moved to 554 Main Street. His brother William was also an architect working out of Manhattan.
A frequent traveller across the Atlantic, Kent had just spent two months in Europe when he boarded the Titanic at Cherbourg as a first class passenger (ticket number 11771 which cost £29, 14s). He occupied cabin B-37. Whilst aboard he was acquainted with a group of other first class passengers which fellow member Archibald Gracie termed "Our coterie." The group included Helen Churchill Candee, Edward Pomeroy Colley, Hugh Woolner, James Clinch Smith and Mauritz Håkan Björnström-Steffansson.
On the night of 14 April, just after the collision, Mrs Candee was running upstairs to the boat deck when she ran into Kent who was dashing topside as well. She persuaded him to keep an ivory and gold miniature of her mother. He didn't believe he would survive, but he slipped it in his pocket in any case. Later, as Archibald Gracie was looking for Candee, Kent told him "She is safe and in a boat, Mr Gracie." Kent had escorted Candee into Lifeboat 6 with the help of Woolner and Björnström-Steffansson.
At 2:20am, Kent made no struggle to jump as the seas closed over him. He was lost and his body was later found by the crew of the MacKay Bennett (#258). The miniature was still in his pocket, and it was eventually returned to Mrs Candee.
NO. 258 - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE, 56. - HAIR FAIR; GREY MOUSTACHE
CLOTHING - Grey coat; dress suit pants.
EFFECTS - Silver flask; two gold signet rings; gold watch; gold eye glasses; gold frame miniature of "Mary Churchill Hungerford"; knife; a pocket books; 48 francs, 75; 2 studs, one link.
NAME - EDWARD A. KENT
On 1 May 1912 the body was delivered to H. K. White of Boston for transportation back to Buffalo.
There is also a memorial plaque to Mr Kent inside the first Unitarian Church, Buffalo.