Ralph, (Kwiatkowski) Kent, who designed the first adult Mickey Mouse watch in the 1960s and went on to be a design leader and instructor for Walt Disney Imagineering at Walt Disney World, died Monday at age 68.
Kent was named to the Walt Disney Co.ís "Disney Legends" hall of fame in 2004, the year he retired.
He first joined Disney in 1963 (after changing his name to Kent from Kwiatkowski,) and in 1965 designed the first limited-edition Mickey Mouse watch for adults, which Walt Disney presented to 25 of his top executives, according to the Legends Webpage
He arrived at Walt Disney World in 1971 as a designer and by the end of the 1970s he oversaw the Walt Disney Imagineering east coast staff support for Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland. In 1990 he joined the Disney Design Group as a corporate trainer, mentoring new artists and creating an extensive reference collection of character model sheets.
Disney officials were not available this morning to discuss Kent's career or his passing. Independent Disney author Lou Mongello, host of the WDW radio show podcast, called Kent "an incredible individual" whose legacy is assured, not just from his own designs, but from the next generation of designers he trained.
"Artists like Brian Blackmore and Alex Maher who studied under Ralph continue to carry on his legacy," Mongello said. "Iím sure he would be proud of the incredible work that they continue to do, and the joy they bring to so many of us."
Source: Orlando Sentinel