Hood touched hearts, souls through his craft
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 27, 2012 1:48 PM
Kent Hood stood behind his mother's couch one recent afternoon and told her "I love you" moments before he walked out the door.
Little did Doris Hood know how much those precious words from her son would eventually mean to her in the days to come.
Kent had told his mom about the headaches he had been suffering and that his doctor was treating him for a sinus infection. But the diagnosis quickly changed to stage 4 metastatic colon cancer, and just two months and three days later, he passed away at the age of 47.
An award-winning wood carver with a passion for hunting, Kent was peacefully laid to rest in the Falling Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Goldsboro. His wife, Heather, and his daughter, Caitlin, live in Cape Carteret. His parents, Ted and Doris, reside in the Grantham community.
Doris treasures a book of photos that truly exemplify Kent's love for the outdoors. Not only do pictures of wood carvings adorned with ribbons and medals grace the pages, but there are photos of Kent with family and friends on numerous excursions that I'm sure will thrill listeners for years to come.
You know, Kent had no intention of becoming a wood carver.
But one afternoon he picked up a duck decoy while visiting his good friend Jerry Talton and figured he could create a suitable replica. His hobby turned into an obsession as Kent spent countless hours in his backyard shop, bringing to life and perfecting pieces of art that once existed in just his mind.
He entered his first competition in 2007 and carvings -- which he made out of either juniper, black cork, northern white cedar or crab pot bouys -- quickly gained admirers from both the East and West coasts. The countless ribbons from competitions began to pile up, and he eventually donated some of his decoys to either charity auctions or Ducks Unlimited.
There was more to Kent than just his craft.
He constantly invited friends to join him on duck hunting trips to his favorite spots. The group shared stories while crickets chirped in the distance and stars twinkled in the night sky. Their laughter echoed as the boat gently rocked on the river.
"I cook a big breakfast on my boat and we hunt a little bit, and tell some duck tales," Kent said during a 2009 interview with the News-Argus.
He was particularly fond of one outing.
"One time when we were hunting, one of the guys found a skull washed up on the shore of the New River," Kent said. "We had everyone from the NCIS to the CIA, and the local police down there. It turned out that it was an old skull that washed out of an old burial site, but it was still a pretty shocking experience."
Kent touched many lives -- young and old. He never once hesitated to help anyone in need and volunteered countless hours to the Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild. He served on the Board of Directors and was a featured carver at the annual festival.
He was a former Captain of the Emerald Isle Fire Department and was a volunteer firefighter for the Stella Fire Department. Somehow he found time in his demanding schedule to handle Master duties for Seaside Masonic Lodge No. 429 in Swansboro.
Now, Kent's friends want to help the Hood family.
Talton and Kent's brother, Brent, have organized a benefit Aug. 2 at the Swansboro Rotary Civic Center. All proceeds go to the family to assist with expenses. A reverse drawing of 100-plus items, including some of Kent's decoys, will be given away in either live or silent auctions.
Tickets are $100 for the event and include a barbecue dinner with all the trimmings. You can purchase tickets by calling Brent at (919) 920-5079 or visiting www.kenthood.com for more information.
I didn't know Kent very well.
But the Grantham community is mourning the loss of a father, husband, son, brother and dear friend. His cherished memory will undoubtedly live in their hearts and souls forever.