104-Year-Old World War II Veteran Explains How He Still Has Passion for Life: ‘There’s Something Out Here to Do’

by Matthew Memrick

A 104-year-old World War II veteran still has a passion for life, claiming that “there’s something out here to do.”

Ned B. Kent, who lived to see 19 United States presidents, is still caring for flowers and plants at his assisted living facility. Kent lives in Washington, Ind., and recently talked with NBC 2.

He’s got a purpose, tending to 64 (flower and plant pots) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The man said after those pots, “there’s something out here to do.”

Recently, the Washington Times-Herald reported that officials gave the World War II veteran a “Sagamore of the Wabash” award. The award recognizes those who have contributed to Indiana’s heritage. Presidents, astronauts, and ambassadors are among many of the recipients of the honorary award. Former nighttime talk show host David Letterman and NASCAR legendary driver Jeff Gordon are past award winners.

Veteran’s Grand Life

Born in Greene County, Ind. to a pair of farmers, Kent graduated from high school in 1935. Destined to be a bookkeeper, the Army drafted him in 1941. Instead of traveling to a warzone, Kent said the Army pressed him into clerical duty at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indiana.

But, two years later, he shipped out to North Africa to keep records on personnel and materials. Those details still stay fresh with him 80 years later.

“Everything just seemed to be clerical. I did a lot of service records for men when they were transferred from one company to another,” the veteran told NBC 2. 

Kent said his assignment to a quartermaster and led to another job in Naples, Italy. Between those places, the veteran did not see any combat, but he knew many that did.

He said he helped through prayer and, though his mother died while he was at war, the man returned home in late 1945. The return came with a visit to the Statue of Liberty.

After the war, the World War II veteran and his wife, Adelyne, ran a flower shop in Sandborn. The couple married in 1951. Adelyne died earlier this year.

Town Honored Kent’s 100th

According to the Washington Times-Herald, town officials pulled out all the stops to honor Kent for his 100th birthday back in 2017.

The veteran told the Times-Herald that he “likes to be active.”

“I’ve live a good clean life,” the man said in 2017. “I think that’s part of the reason I’ve lived so long. I think of the body as a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell, and you feed the spirit and body with clean things.”

Activities director Libby Robinson said Kent attends every activity she offers at the assisted living facility. She said she’s laughed, cried, and prayed with Kent over the years.

“It’s a pleasure and an honor to be a small part of his life,” Robinson said.