Kent Gene Blackwelder, age 45, of Redondo Beach, CA, died Friday, August 3rd from a massive heart attack. He was the son of Gene and Greta (Wick) Blackwelder, of Mesa Arizona. Kent was born December 3, 1955 in Alexandria Minnesota. He spent his formative years in Illinois and graduated from Downers Grove Illinois high school in 1973. He went to Purdue on a pilot's scholarship and graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Management and Industrial Engineering. He achieved the rank of Colonel in the ROTC program at Purdue. Upon graduation he was accepted into the space program at El Segundo, California. During this time he also received two Masters degrees from Pepperdine and UCLA. After leaving the Air Force with the rank of Captain in 1982, he did consulting for several years before he became a part of the music industry, opening his own management company, Kent Blackwelder Management in Hermosa Beach. Kent was named one of the Outstanding Young Men of America in 1983, Who's Who in the World in 1987 and 1988 and the Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America in 1987 and 1988. Kent is survived by his long time companion, Melinda Eckhardt of Redondo Beach, parents Gene and Greta of Mesa, AZ, one sister Karla and husband, Ken Thorstensen of Mesa, AZ, three brothers, Todd of Mesa, AZ, Chad of Phoenix, AZ and Troy and his wife. Denise of Fredericksburg, VA. He also is survived by one nephew who is his namesake, Troy's son, Kent Gene Blackwelder II of Fredericksburg, VA. A private memorial service was held August 7, 2001, attended by family and friends. Dan Wohleen officiated at the service. A celebration of Kent's life was held the evening of August 7, 2001 at the Comedy Magic Club, Hermosa Beach, CA, attended by friends, relatives, friends and associates in the entertainment and music industry. Kent was cremated and his ashes spread over his favorite place, the Pacific Ocean. Funeral arrangements were handled by White and Day, Redondo Beach. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Kent's name to the American Heart Association, Irvine, CA branch. The email address is

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