DOVER - Donald Raymond Lent, 86, died peacefully and surrounded by family on Monday, June 22, 2020. A noted New England painter, Don was born in Marblehead, Mass., in 1933. His father, Jesse Lent, was a machinist at United Shoe in Beverly, Mass., and a union organizer; his mother, Besse Lent, was a home health nurse.
He was predeceased by three older siblings, Jesse, Robert and Eleanor.
He is survived by Robin Lent, his wife of 37 years. He is also survived by his children, Michael Lent, and his wife Deborah, Jennifer Lent, Jesse Lent, Charlotte Lent, Lucy Lent Barretto and her husband, Nicholas, as well as his two beloved stepdaughters, Katherine Torriero and her husband Joe, and Abigail Davis and her husband, Greg. Don had four grandchildren, Joseph Torriero, Elody Davis, Gregory Davis, and Rosie Barretto. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Norma Segal, as well as his sister and brother-in-law, Deborah and Geoff Tudhope and his nephew, Adam Tudhope and niece, Molly Jenner.
Don graduated from Marblehead High School and attended the Boston Institute for the Arts. He then joined the Army, where he became a Russian translator and spent two years in Germany. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, which he attended thanks to the GI Bill. There he studied painting with Howard Warshaw and Rico LeBrun and was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in 1959, which he spent in England. He then continued his studies at Yale University, where he earned a BFA and an MFA. At Yale he worked with Josef Albers.
Don taught at UC Santa Barbara, then became Chair and Dana Professor of the Art Department at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He became Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 2000. During his time at Bates, Don wrote for the Maine Times, illustrated a book with Alan Stephens, and published many book reviews. After retiring from academic life, Don served two terms as a NH State Representative.
After retirement, Don lived in Durham. He had studios in Portsmouth, Dover, Newmarket, and Exeter, and exhibited widely in local galleries. The subject of his most notable painting series was the Portsmouth bridges. He also focused his artistry on the factories of Newmarket and Portsmouth as well as a series of animal paintings. He also enjoyed reading, writing and, most of all, visiting with his grandchildren.
His family is grateful for the kind and loving care Don received at The Residence at Silver Square in Dover, where he spent his last months in memory care; there he especially enjoyed walking through the beautiful gardens.