Richard Collyer Fent, 84, known to family and friends as Dick, passed away Friday, December 30, 2022. He died at home surrounded by his loving family after losing his battle with cancer.
A native of Flint, Michigan, Dick was the middle son of the late Lewis Evan Fent and Phyllis Jeanne Fent. He was a devoted husband to Betty and a loving father to Dorothy, David and Doug. Dick was born September 18th, 1938. He grew up in Flint, Michigan where at an early age he developed a strong work ethic that he would carry with him throughout his life and career. In his early days Dick delivered papers, sold tomatoes from his garden, and often spoke of his first real job as a “soda jerk” at Stevenson’s Drugstore. After graduating from high school with honors, he received a scholarship to attend college at General Motors Institute. On May 14th, 1960, he married the love of his life, Betty Lou Holtslander of Linden, Michigan. A year later he earned his Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree and upon graduating was hired by Chevrolet. In 1966 he received a Master of Science in Industrial Administration from the University of Michigan. Taking a new position with Allis Chalmers/Fiat Allis, Dick relocated with his family to Illinois. Ten years later Dick took a new position with FMC where he commuted daily on the train to downtown Chicago. Dick later was promoted and transferred to San Jose, CA where he became the Manager of the Strategic Enterprises Unit IV. In 1992 Dick’s career goal was realized when he became the Plant Manager for FMC/United Defense in Aiken, SC. Dick had one more career opportunity and relocated with his wife to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where he was the Program Director for the M113 Modernization Program with FMC Arabia. Upon returning to the states Dick and Betty settled into retirement in Aiken, South Carolina.
Dick dedicated his life to his wife, family, and church. And while his career took him to many places in the world such as China, Singapore, Australia, Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia, the Maldives Islands to name a few, he always said being home with his family was his favorite place to be. He enjoyed playing golf, attending his grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s school and sporting events, and never missed a chance to cheer on his beloved Michigan Wolverines and South Carolina Gamecocks. He also loved reading, playing the piano for the family, vacationing to Hilton Head and Alaska, and never turned down a good game of ping-pong.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents Lewis and Phyllis Fent, and his brother Robert Fent. Dick is survived by his wife of 62 years, Betty Lou (Holtslander), and his three children, Dorothy Fountaine (Mark Merrill) of Morgan Hill, CA, David Fent, of Aiken, SC, and Douglas Fent (Meredith) of Beaufort, SC; Seven Grandchildren, Brandon Fountaine (Jessica), Mitch Fountaine (Shay), Alexis Fountaine (Juan Sepulveda), Patrick Merrill, Christopher Fent, Lauren Fent, Evan Fent, and Josie Fent; 11 Great-Grandchildren, Cole, Alaina, Blake, Aubry, Ava, Nathen, Leila, Wyatt, Beckett, Austin and Cooper; Brother James Fent (Martha).
In his honor each of us will do our best to continue his legacy by modeling his very best qualities and values.
The family will receive friends Thursday morning, January 12th at 10 o’clock at Trinity United Methodist Church. A memorial service will follow at 11 o’clock. The service will be livestreamed on the church's Facebook page (Trinity UMC Aiken).
In Lieu of flowers, and in honor of Betty Fent, the family asks that memorial contributions be directed to Great Oak Equine Assisted Programs of Aiken at 1123 Edgefield Hwy, Aiken SC 29801 or to the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association at 140 Stoneridge Dr., Suite 640, Columbia, SC 29210.
SHELLHOUSE – RIVERS FUNERAL HOME, 715 EAST PINE LOG RD., AIKEN, SCTo order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Collyer Fent, please visit our flower store.