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
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