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Northwest produce sales veteran Kent Bille Marboe dies at 83

Longtime Northwest produce sales agent Kent Bille Marboe died Monday, April 3, at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle at age 83.

Mr. Marboe began his long career in produce in the late 1960s as the general manager of sales at R.T. French Co. fresh potato division in Shelly, ID. He became an active member of United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and also served as president of the Idaho Grower Shippers Association and local/regional service groups.KentMarboeKent Bille Marboe

Mr. Marboe moved to Wenatchee, WA, in 1983, and he sold for Jones Produce in nearby Quincy. That led to his employment at Oneonta Trading Corp. in Wenatchee, where he worked until his retirement in April 2007. After leaving the sales desk, Mr. Marboe was able to pursue his love of golf at the Wenatchee Golf and Country Club and to spend time river rafting and fly fishing.

The youngest of three children, Mr. Marboe was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 19, 1934. The family moved to Washington, where he spent most of his younger years. Mr. Marboe graduated from Foster High School in Seattle.

After high school, Mr. Marboe attended the University of Idaho, where he met Catherine Cannon. The two married Dec. 28, 1957, and Mr. Marboe graduated the following year. The young couple made their first home in Moscow, ID, and for two years Mr. Marboe taught and coached for the school district. He then became director of the city’s park and recreation department, a position he held for eight years.

During that tenure, he worked tirelessly to help teenage boys and girls reach their full potential and was a leader in obtaining funds to build the Egan Memorial Youth Center, which remains a vital part of the Moscow community still.

Known as for his love of sports, Mr. Marboe took a leading role in Grid Kids of Idaho, coaching his three sons. For a number of years he was a high school football and basketball referee and later a college basketball referee. One of his passions was cheering on the University of Idaho Vandals football team, having played there during his college years. He saw one of his sons and two grandsons all play Vandals football as well.

Mr. Marboe is survived by his wife of 59 years, Catherine Cannon Marboe of the family home in Wenatchee; son Leland Scott (Maribeth) Marboe of Wenatchee; Kent Bradley (Cate) Marboe of Idaho Falls, ID; Michael Jorgen (Linda) Marboe of Eagle, ID; and Julie Ann Long (Cyril Hoover) of Oroville, WA.

He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Bradley, Michael James, Jessica, Mitchell, Alicia, Raquel, Bridger and Kannon, all of whom he called “his favorites,” 10 nieces and nephews; his brother, Leon, of Ballard, WA; and many friends and former colleagues in the produce industry.

Mr. Marboe was preceded in death by his parents, Jorgen and Ellen Marboe, who immigrated to the United States in the mid 1920s from Denmark, as well as his sister Vivian Burklund of Seattle and infant son Ronald Matthew.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Wenatchee, WA, followed by a reception at The Highlander Golf Club in East Wenatchee.

Memorial contributions in Mr. Marboe’s name can be made to Wenatchee High School Athletics, c/o Athletic Department 1101 Millerdale, Wenatchee, WA. 98801 or to Chapter CC P.E.O. Foundation for Local High School Scholarships, 1980 Methow Street, Wenatchee, WA. 98801