Kent Sutton McWilliam was born in Jefferson, IA, on December 15, 1936. He lived his life on his family farm in Paton. He graduated high school from Paton Consolidated in 1955 and left the farm briefly to attend college at Iowa State University in Ames. After one year he transferred to Arizona State University in Phoenix, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy with a minor in chemistry. Kent returned to the farm in Paton and continued to farm with his father, Wiltse McWilliam, for the next 20 years and then took over all farm operations for the rest of his life.
In 1958 Kent married Suzanne Clopton of Jefferson. In 1959 they welcomed a baby girl, Ann Marie, and in 1964 they adopted a son, Todd Kent. Kent and Sue were married for 20 years and divorced in 1978. Kent shared the majority of his life with lifemate Mary Tilley of Boxholm until her passing in 2016.
Kent fell in love with horses at an early age when his dad bought his first horse, which gained him the freedom to run his horse to town to visit his beloved grandparents. After college Kent was very active in playday sports, participating in barrels, poles, and track racing with his trophy-winning horse Tonka. Eventually Kent began breeding, raising, showing and selling Arabian horses. During this time he also began horse and buggy rides with his beautiful white Arabian horse, McCoy. Kent and McCoy gave people hundreds of summer buckboard rides and winter rides in an enclosed Amish buggy. He also made many fond memories with people at parades and weddings. On his tombstone Kent is the “Paton Cowboy.
Perhaps Kent’s greatest claim to fame, however, might be his charismatic personality, being a hilarious storyteller and an overall extremely funny person. He always delivered good times and laughs and those will be greatly missed.
Kent is preceded in death by his father Wiltse McWilliam; his mother Blanche McWilliam Prasad; his son Todd McWilliam; his brother Roy McWilliam; and lifemate Mary Tilley.
He leaves behind his daughter Ann Marie (Scott) McWilliam Yoder; a grandson Hayden Barr; brothers Evans (Linda) McWilliam and Winston (Joan) McWilliam; sister Diane (Les) Williams; and many nieces and nephews.
Kent will be laid to rest at the Grand Junction Cemetery. Visitation will be at the Hastings Funeral Home in Jefferson, Iowa, on Friday, January 4 starting at 1 p.m. Family will be at the visitation that evening from 5 to 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Methodist Church in Jefferson at 11am. with a luncheon at the church at following and graveside burial service.