KEARNEY — Kent E. Lilly, 72, of Kearney died Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, at CHI Health Good Samaritan.

Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church with the Revs. Nancy Tuma and Jerry Bady officiating. Burial will be at Kearney Cemetery with military honors by Kearney American Legion Post 52, Kearney Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 759 and the U.S. Air Force Funeral Honors Team.

Visitation with family will be 5-7 p.m. today at the church.

Horner Lieske McBride & Kuhl Funeral and Cremation Services is in charge of arrangements.


Kent was born on Dec. 9, 1946, in Hastings to Lester I. and Mary E. (Baker) Lilly. He attended Grand Island High School and graduated in 1965. He then attended the Grand Island Business School and graduated in 1966 with a degree in accounting.

Kent enlisted with the U.S. Air Force in 1967 and served for four years while stationed in North Carolina as an accounting specialist. Upon his discharge from the Air Force, he attended Kearney State College and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

He married JoAnn Williamson on April 23, 1967, in Orchard.

Kent served the state of Nebraska as a state probation officer in Kearney. He was appointed a chief probation officer in 1979 serving nine Nebraska counties in what was then referred to as Probation District 17.

Following a restructure in the probation system, he served as chief deputy probation officer in District 9 serving Buffalo and Hall counties. He ended his decorated career in 2012 after 40 years of dedicated service.

During his career he served on many committees both as an adviser and chair, including Region III Alcohol Advisory Services Board, statewide policy procedure committee and many others. He was instrumental in helping write statewide policies over the years. He also aided in establishing the Kearney Probation Reporting Center, which now offers a wide variety of services to offenders. In 2006 he was awarded the Nebraska Probation System Supervisor of the Year award.

Kent also served as a CASA volunteer and was awarded CASA volunteer of the year in 2019. Kent was an active member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon and elder. He also served as a scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 136.

Surviving relatives include his wife, JoAnn Lilly of Kearney; son, Jerod and Samantha Lilly of Lincoln; daughter, Heather and Dan Morrow of Kearney; grandchildren, Garrett Marshall and significant other Kayla Lukens, Drew Morrow and Jacob Morrow; great-granddaughter, Ava Marshall; and many nieces, nephews and other extended family and friends.

Kent was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Wanda Yost and her husband, Jim; brother, Ron Lilly and his wife, Marlene; and niece, KoAnn Lawrence.

Memorials are suggested to Kearney Elks Lodge 984, Nebraska Children’s Home, First Presbyterian Church and CASA of Buffalo County.

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