The heartbreaking loss of a dear friend and a Valley legend

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I am heartbroken. Shocked. Trying to find the right words to aptly describe what Kenty meant to me.
I knew this day would come eventually. But still, my heart hurts knowing I won’t hear him greet me with his usual “ANAYA!” at the top of his voice to my return “DANA!” at the top of my voice.
He was my co-anchor, my close friend, my confidante, my brother, and my father-figure all wrapped into one. I loved him dearly and I know he loved me, because it’s what we said to each other at the end of every visit, phone call, or text.
Kent and I worked together at 12News in the 90’s, but I anchored mornings and he anchored evenings, so we didn’t see each other much. When we did, he was always fun and full of great encouragement. Not long after I returned to Phoenix in 2003 to anchor at CBS 5, we hired Kent from 12 and he became my evening co-anchor. We were a great team. We took the 10pm newscast to #1 for the first time in the station’s history. We became so close and so in-sync, we could tell just by our breath when the other was going to speak. And if one of us started laughing, forget it – we were on a roll and good luck getting us to stop. His infectious, signature Kent giggle and “Ha!” would get me every time. We became even closer off camera. He became one of my best friends. He carried me through some of my toughest times, like my divorce. We were there for each other during some of our most special times – like kids’ weddings, showers, birthdays and graduations. He even taught my son (sitting on his lap, of course) how to steer a boat. He loved boating. We took multiple trips on his boat and other vacations – like Cabo for my 40th birthday. News Directors don’t like having both anchors off at the same time. But Kent went into our boss’s office and explained that we were the best of friends and he couldn’t NOT be there to celebrate my big day – so the boss let us both off to celebrate in Mexico. When he retired, I cried like a baby on air, and even more so off air. I didn’t know how I was ever going to enjoy going to work every day the way I did when I was anchoring with him. Two of my favorite Kenty stories, I must share:

It was no secret that CBS 5 paid him big bucks to come over from 12. One day I was waiting for him in studio to shoot a promo. He walked in with a boot on his foot and I asked, “What the heck happened to your foot?” He deadpan responded, “I dropped my paycheck on it!” The studio erupted in laughter. He was such a jokester. Another time, we had to shoot a promo teasing a story about how Viagra might be tied to hearing loss. I started with the scripted words, “Coming up tonight at 10: Why Viagra could affect your hearing loss,” to which Kent quickly responded off-script, “What did you say?” We all must have laughed for 5 minutes straight. The man had the quickest, sharpest wit. Even all these years later. We had lunch less than a year ago. He was still tossing out the funniest, off-color jokes that our little group came to love and expect. Kent is a Valley icon. An Arizona broadcast legend. He carried a lot of power in this town. But he never carried himself that way. He was the kindest, most humble, most generous, funniest, most down-to-earth person you could ever meet. That is what made him so beloved. What you saw on air was exactly who he was off air. To be among the women journalists who’ve had the pleasure of co-anchoring with him, is the most treasured time of my career. To become close friends off air, is the bless I didn’t expect and can’t imagine my life without. I knew this day would come eventually. But still, my heart hurts. I am grateful for his love, his friendship, and the immense joy he brought to my life. There will never be another like him. Never. Rest in peace Kenty. I miss you and I love you to the moon and back!

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