William Kent, co-founder of the Kent Drum Company, passed away in his Buffalo, New York area home on December 11, 2014. William turned 99 years old last month and passed after a very short illness.
In 1947 William and Ed Kent opened the Kent Drum Company in Kenmore, NY with a focus to create student-level kits, encouraging music making at all economic levels. The company also offered professional-level drum sets, snare drums and percussion accessories. William was always proud of a common story told throughout the industry - "A Christmas morning surprise, in 1964 or 1965... for the young Ringo want-to-be, a new Kent Drum set under the tree!" The company closed in 1977, allowing William and Ed to retire. Drum Paradise, their retail shop next to the factory, closed the following year.
William Kent's 2013 NAMM Oral History interview: https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/william-kent
Text courtesy of Dan Del Fiorentino, NAMM Music Historian.