The Obit For J. Arthur Dent

J. Arthur Dent
December 21, 2010

JOSEPH ARTHUR DENT departed this life December 17, 2010, at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, Nassawadox, Virginia, after a long illness.

J. Arthur was born in Washington, D.C., June 6, 1938. He was the third child of the late Charles and Emily Dent. He attended the public schools of Prince George’s County, Maryland. In 1956, he graduated from Fairmont Heights High School, Fairmont Heights, Maryland, where he played basketball and baseball. After graduation, he attended Maryland State College in Princess Anne, now University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), on a baseball scholarship. He graduated in 1961, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Building Trades and Construction.

In 1963, J. Arthur married the former Vivian Spady of Cape Charles. While there were no biological children, they were mentors to many and three were very special-Lt. Colonel Lise Hall, Gerald Pitt, and Lamont Webb, whom they lovingly treated as their own.

J. Arthur came from a family of baseball history, playing from a very small boy to the major leagues. He was affiliated with the Cleveland Indians organization until his release because of leg injuries that plagued him until his passing. He played against such greats as Denny McLane, Ruddy Mae, and Tommy Agee.
After a short stay in professional baseball, he joined his wife, Vivian, in Cape Charles where he worked in construction. Later, he became the trades instructor at Northampton County High School and Northampton High School for 35 years, retiring in 1995.

J. Arthur coached football and baseball, from which many championships and honors were brought to Northampton. He had many hobbies and was a great hunter and fisherman. Fishermen from up and down the east coast came to the Eastern Shore of Virginia to fish, wanting to know where the fish were. They would be told to see Arthur Dent; he will put you on them. He was a Coast Guard licensed captain and those whom he took fishing did not want to fish with anyone else. People from as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as Florida came to fish with Captain Dent on his second love, his boat, “The Agitator.”

After retiring, J. Arthur decided to become a farmer, producing and harvesting the delicious Eastern Shore vegetables. He introduced the hayman sweet potato and many fresh vegetables to the people of Maryland and Washington, D.C. On weekends of the Redskins football games, people would be lined up on his family’s porch in Maryland, waiting for the vegetables, fresh fish, and other seafood to arrive.
J. Arthur was a lover of the Washington Redskins, holding season tickets since 1963. He missed only five games up until the time of his illness. He first became ill while going home to a football game, the last one of the season in December 2006.

J. Arthur’s mother loved to cook and it was a tradition for the Dent family to host a fun filled, feast of a dinner for friends after each Redskins home game. He was a devoted family member, friend, and teacher. He was highly respected for his knowledge, skills, and integrity. He also had a great sense of humor. He was good with the computer and kept in touch and delighted in using e-mail to send and receive jokes and stories. He was for doing things right and doing the right thing. The wise counsel he gave to his students was often evident when they came back and said “Mr. Dent, you were ‘right on’ in what you told me years ago and it really helped to get me through some tough times.” He had many resources and would try to get whatever someone wanted so long as it was not illegal. He served on various city boards and committees. He was even approached about running for Mayor, but he said it might interfere with his fishing.

He was a member of the African Baptist Church, Cheriton Virginia, Rev. Charles Mapp, Pastor. He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; UMES Athletic Hall of Fame; Club Chautauqua; and a former member of Valentine Lodge #85.

J. Arthur was predeceased by his parents. He leaves to cheerfully remember him: his college sweetheart and wife and friend of 47 years. He also leaves a goddaughter, Tiffany Smith; godsons, Dale and Bryce Robinson, and Joshua Hall; one brother, Charles Dent Jr. of Forestville, Maryland; two sisters, Arleen D. Winfield of Springdale, Maryland and Gwendolyn Crenshaw Wilson of Denver; nephews, Ivan Dent of Forestville, Maryland and “Chuck” Dent of Waldorf, Maryland; also, great nieces and nephew, Tiffany Hinton of Atlanta Georgia, and Courtney and Dalian Wilson of Denver.

J. Arthur was known by many names, some we would dare say, by his friends and family—namely, Arthur, J, Arthur, Art, Joe, Dent, Jafus, Bucky, Peanut, and his favorite by his wife, “JJ”. He will surely be missed.