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Longboat Key Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 5 months ago

Observer columnist had a knack for people

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Kent Chetlain II, 90, died Dec. 4.
by: Katie Johns Community Editor

Kent Chetlain II was so outgoing, he often stopped his car to talk to someone he knew.

That drove his kids in the back seat crazy, but that’s how Chetlain related to others.

“Probably his number one thing he liked to do was talk to people, but by the way he did that, he showed interest in people in order to start a conversation,” said Kent Chetlain III, one of Chetlain’s sons.

The former Longboat Observer real estate columnist died Dec. 4. He was 90.

Mr. Chetlain grew up in the North Shore area of Chicago. Mr. Chetlain’s journalism career began in 1951 at the Miami Herald, where he met his late wife, Joanne Lacy.

In 1957, he moved to Bradenton. After a brief stint at Tropicana, he worked for the Bradenton Herald. After a stint in Tampa, the Chetlain family moved back to Bradenton in 1973, where Mr. Chetlain returned to the Bradenton Herald and also worked for The Islander of Anna Maria.

Chetlain said his father carried a human interest theme with him throughout his career, some of which carried over into local government. He served three terms as a  Manatee County commissioner. Mr. Chetlain began covering real estate for the Longboat Observer in 1982. He retired in 2010.

“He loved people. He was interested in people,” Kent Chetlain III said. “When he wrote his column, for example for The Observer, he would always include information about the person, where they were from, because he felt that created more interest.”

Lisa Walsh, vice president and former executive editor of the Longboat Observer, worked with Chetlain for 15 years. 

“He made the column fascinating,” Walsh said. “You got to see how many fascinating people were on Longboat.”

Mr. Chetlain is survived by four children and five grandchildren. A funeral service will be held at noon Dec. 16 at the Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave. E. Donations can be made to Inspired Living at Lakewood Ranch or the Alzheimer’s Association, Manatee-Sarasota Chapter.

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