CALDWELL, IDAHO - Kent Norwood Sawmiller, 89, passed away peacefully on December 28, 2020, at the home of his granddaughter Jennifer, a Physicians Assistant and wonderful caregiver.
Kent was born to Dorey and Hazel (Stemen) Sawmiller on June 16, 1931, at their home near Spencerville, Ohio. He grew up on the family farm and attended Shawnee High School in Lima, Ohio. In 1949 at the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Following assignment to Japan, he was selected for General Douglas MacArthur’s Honor Guard Company, an elite unit which provided security for MacArthur’s headquarters and residence.
Kent achieved the rank of Corporal while fighting in the Korean War as a Light Weapons Infantryman. In February 1951, Kent was seriously wounded in action by an enemy shell, with shrapnel coming within ¼ inch of his aorta. The Army surgeon who treated him at the field hospital held up the riddled Gideon New Testament that had been in Kent’s pocket over his heart and said, "See this, Lucky? You would have died in seconds if that fragment touched your aorta."
Kent later became a speaker for The Gideons International Association, telling his story and supporting its mission of spreading the Gospel around the globe. His military decorations include the Purple Heart and the Presidential Unit Citation.
In 1952 Kent left the Army and returned to northwest Ohio, where he met the love of his life, Janet Marcine McDorman. They were married on February 11, 1954, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where they attended Trevecca Nazarene College and their son Mark was born in 1958. They soon returned to Lima and Kent began a career with the U.S. Postal Service. He eventually retired with disabilities after 20 years of federal service.
Kent was a beloved uncle of many nieces and nephews, who enjoyed his humor and zest for life. He was a master woodworker, and always had time to take his adoring grandchildren into his basement shop to work on some new creation. He excelled at archery, competed in state and national tournaments, and served as president of a local archery league. He was famous for his homemade pizzas and pies, and delighted in growing, eating, and giving away tomatoes. He loved music and was an accomplished singer. He faithfully attended the Pilgrim Holiness Church in Lima and was greatly supported by his pastor and congregation there during his illness in recent years.
Kent was preceded in death by his parents and all eight of his siblings: Ray, Richard, Gale, Nile, Roger, and Mildred Sawmiller, Irene Sunderland, and Ruth Stinebuck. He is survived by his wife Janet Marcine Sawmiller, son Mark (Nancy) Sawmiller, granddaughter Jennifer (Will) Sawmiller, three grandsons Jonathan (Kassi) Sawmiller, Jeffrey (Jocelyn) Sawmiller, Jeremy (Kristin) Sawmiller, and five great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM Mountain Time on January 9, 2021, at Dakan Funeral Chapel, 504 South Kimball Ave, Caldwell, Idaho, with Chaplain Norm Geyer officiating. A live streaming video of the service will be available at www.dakanfuneralchapel.com. A private burial will follow at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise, Idaho. Memorial contributions in Kent’s name can be made to The Gideons International, www.gideons.org.
The family wishes to thank his special care giver Kristi Hendry from Interim Healthcare and Keystone Hospice for their excellent care.
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 1/9/2021 at 01:45 PM, Mountain Standard Time.
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