Kaufman County, TX – October 29, 2021 – The highly-revered Former County Judge Wayne Gent passed away this week, but his legacy in public service will long be remembered through his dedication and service to Kaufman County. Judge Gent served as County Judge for a total of 20 years between 1974 and 2010. He left public office at the end of December 2010 at age 69 to “re-enter private life — this time in a semi-retired state — and leave public service,” as he stated in an article published in the Kaufman Herald in 2010.
Judge Gent was elected Kaufman County Judge in 1974 in his first election win, serving in that post until 1982 when he retired to go into full-time private law practice. He then acted as a “special judge” for the county from 1983-95. Judge Gent was re-elected as county judge in 1998 and held that post until the end of 2010.
Judge Gent was born December 25, 1941. He is a 1960 graduate of Kaufman High School, earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Texas Tech University and attended law school at South Texas College of Law in Houston where he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence.
He served as a Scout Sniper attached to the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam from 1967-68, seeing combat during that time period. He was wounded in January 1968 during the Tet Offensive, earning a Purple Heart. He was a member of the Army National Guard from 1977-82. Judge Gent was a life member of the Marine Corps League, the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3905, and of the American Legion.
At the Dec. 13, 2010 Commissioners Court meeting, a proclamation in Gent’s honor was read and approved, designating Dec. 24 as Wayne Gent Day.
The proclamation listed his many years of public service including: past president of the Kaufman Lions Club, member and past president of the Kaufman Chamber of Commerce, member and past president of the Kaufman County Bar Association, member of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Texas, past president of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, past president of North and East Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association, board of directors and member of the Tobacco Permanent Trust Fund, board of directors and member of the Texas Workforce Board, and board of directors and member of the North Central Texas Housing Finance Corporation.
During his combined 20 years as judge, Judge Gent told the Kaufman Herald that he was “proud to have been involved in the construction of two county jails. He said he is also proud of using trustee labor from those jails in the remodeling of county buildings, saving the county thousands and thousands of dollars.”
At the end of the article, Judge Gent stated the following, which holds a new meaning now. “It’s going to be weird, really weird,” Judge Gent said of no longer coming to the courthouse, day after day. “I don’t plan to set the alarm clock (and) my schedule’s going to change.”
For those who knew Judge Gent, and on behalf of Kaufman County, we express our deepest sympathies to the Gent family and we will miss you. Rest in Peace, Judge.
Services will be Friday, November 5, 2021 at the First Baptist Church at 11 a.m.