Beverly — Kent Zeilon, died May 9, 2013, at the Essex Park Nursing Home, a victim of Parkinson’s Disease.
He was born in Beverly, December 27, 1934, to parents Carl and Maud (Noren) Zeilon and was a lifelong resident of 18 Devon Avenue. He graduated from Beverly High School in 1952. He spent a lot of his free time at Longy’s Auto Body Works on Rantoul Street developing an interest in mechanics and racing which continued throughout his life. He was given his first car, a 1934 Ford Phaeton (4-door convertible), by Fred Moser. Kent followed Harold “Red” Cummings to midget and stock car races all over New England.
His first regular employment was as line boy at Beverly Airport where he serviced transiting aircraft.
Kent’s knowledge, energy and enthusiasm were noted by General Robert Wood Johnson, Chairman of J&J who engaged him as a mechanic aboard a J&J DC-3 “Flying Showcase” of LePage Glue products. Kent flew all over the U.S. for nine months, becoming a salesman for J&J on his return.
Subsequently, he worked at “The Shoe” in the Research Division, a congenial and technical environment where he made many friends. Later, he worked as production planner for several regional manufacturing companies, including Aster Engineering, and retired from Walbar in Peabody.
His interest in automotive activities led to several auto restoration projects, some of which he gave to families needing transport. His final project was a meticulously rebuilt Red 1989 Honda Civic 4-wheel drive wagon which was almost complete when Parkinson’s forced him into the nursing home.
Kent’s Swedish heritage was very important to him. He seldom missed the annual Leif Ericson parade in Boston and he kept close contact with cousins in the U.S. and in Sweden. Perhaps the highlight of his life was a 1996 trip to Sweden where he was royally entertained by several different families of relatives. He treasured the 32 albums of photographs he took while there and maintained contact with each of the families.