Muriel Smiley Kent
August 21, 1927 ~ August 7, 2017
Muriel Smiley Kent, 89, passed away quietly in her home on August 7th, 2017 following a brief illness.
Muriel was well-known and beloved in her adopted home town of Fallon, Nevada, where she was a Journalism and Business teacher at Churchill County High School for many years. “Smiley”, as she was affectionately known, also wrote occasionally for the Fallon Eagle Standard, expressing her own passion for journalism as she had tried to instill in her students.
Muriel was born on August 21, 1927 in McGill, Nevada to parents Orville and Evelyn Smiley, where Orville worked at the Kennacott Copper Mine. She was one of three children, with older brother Jim and younger brother Edward (Ned). The family returned to their cattle ranch in Starr Valley at the base of the Ruby Mountains where she attended school until age 14. It was in that one room school house that Muriel began her writing career. She would write up a Starr Valley “newsletter”; laboriously making multiple copies in pencil to go home to each family in the valley, while other students (kindergarten to 8th grade) vied for the teacher’s attention.
She graduated from Wells High School with the class of 1945. Muriel immediately enrolled at Utah State University, pursuing a lifelong passion of journalism. Coming down with pneumonia her first semester, her father transferred her to the University of Nevada, Reno where she graduated with a degree in secondary education. While attending one of her classes, a young man started writing on her back while seated in the desk immediately behind her. They both were members of the Artemisia yearbook staff; and a romance bloomed. He later proposed by sending her engagement ring in the mail. Muriel joined her groom in his hometown of Fallon, NV where they would share their home for 63 years.
In addition to teaching in Fallon, Muriel also taught in Fernley, Gabbs and Ely, Nevada; Sacramento, California; and Aspen, Colorado. Muriel was also the author of 2 books: “100 Years on Maine Street”, a collection of stories, photos and recipes gathered over her years in Fallon; and “Portraits in Motherhood: A Tribute”, another collection of essays and photos honoring women from pioneers to present day.
In 1958 Muriel joined the PEO Sisterhood with her mother-in-law, Margaret Kent. She was an active member of Chapter D; due to receive her 60 year membership pin in February of 2018.
Muriel was preceded in death by her husband Robert Kent of Fallon (May 27, 2016) and brother Ned Smiley (April 30, 2004) of Starr Valley, Nevada.
She is survived by her brother Jim Smiley of Starr Valley; son Stephen Kent (Mayla) of Reno, Kristi Evers (David) of Issaquah, Washington, and daughter Cynthia Kent-Dillon (Eric) of Fallon; grandchildren Kristopher Kent (Jillian), Kara Gurries (Ray), Kimberly Kent, Cole Dillon, Olivia Dillon, Lane Dillon, Mariel Evers, Andrew Evers and Allyson Evers; and 4 great-grandchildren Hugo Kent, Cora Kent, Adaline Gurries and Rachel Gurries.
A celebration and remembrance of her life will be held August 26, 2017, 11:00 AM at Epworth Methodist Church in Fallon, with a luncheon to follow at the Wolfe Center located within the United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers or other honors, the family would appreciate donations in her name to the Churchill County Museum.