Dr. Leonard Kent Thomas was born in Miami, Oklahoma on Jan 25, 1940 to Leonard and Geneva Thomas. He is survived by his wife, Kayleen (Studebaker), daughter, Jana Thomas-Roach and husband, Michael (Roach), and granddaughters Caitie and Megan who live in Bay Village, OH. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews in Missouri and Oklahoma. His son Christopher Kent Thomas, sister, Joanne Kaylor, and parents, Leonard and Geneva Thomas, preceded him in death. 

Kent attended Miami Public Schools and NEO Junior College where he was honored as an Outstanding Alumni in 1999. Kent received a degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. He married Kayleen (Studebaker) after his junior year at OU. They were high school sweethearts and were happily married for almost 59 years. Upon graduation from OU, Kent was offered a fellowship to the University of Michigan where he earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering. He was a good listener and enjoyed teaching others. He even taught an algebra class to nurses through OSU. Most of all, he loved helping solve problems. No problem was too big with his “we can do it” attitude.

In 1966, Kent began his career with Phillips 66 as a Reservoir Engineering Analyst in the computing department in Bartlesville. In 1971, Kent moved with his family to Caracas, Venezuela for 15 months for a work assignment with Phillips.

Kent enjoyed playing, watching and coaching sports. He participated in the Phillips baseball & volleyball leagues. He coached the First United Methodist Church’s Y Basketball and his son’s Overlees Little League Baseball team. They won the "A Minor" City Championship in 1979. He attended Boy Scout campouts and summer camps with his son’s troop. He attended countless Phillips swim meets and cheered for his children and the team.

The outdoors was always beckoning Kent....hunting, fishing and caring for his acreage. He took his family on many trips that involved camping and nature. Some trips were related to his work and others were planned based on the family's desires. He loved exploring the USA, especially Colorado, California, and Hawaii. His favorite places to visit outside of the US were Canada, Norway and England.

Kent was promoted to Manager of Engineering Sciences with responsibilities for the development of reservoir simulation software, for use within the company and application to major field projects such as Ekofisk in the North Sea and consultation to field engineers. He has authored or co-authored over 50 technical papers throughout his career and has served on 45+ SPE committees, chairing many of them. With the guidance of his mentor, Dr. Donald Katz, who helped set up the Research Development Lab at Phillips in Bartlesville. Dr. Katz became a world-renowned engineer, receiving the National Medal of Science by President Ronald Reagan.

Kent received the 1993 SPE Reservoir Engineering Award in recognition of major contributions to reservoir simulation technology. He served as a 1995-1996 Distinguished Lecturer where he traveled to many countries to speak. He was elected to SPE Distinguished Member status in 1995. Kent received the prestigious Robert Earl McConnell Award from AIME in 2002. This award recognizes beneficial service to mankind by engineers through significant contributions that tend to advance the nation’s standard of living or replenish its natural resources.

After retirement, Kent was a contract employee for Conoco Phillips. In 2006 he received a ConocoPhillips Technology Innovation Award in Houston for a lifetime of achievement for excellence in reservoir engineering, as demonstrated by his countless awards, recognition and professional contributions, including numerous reservoir engineering simulators and their application in the field.

In 2012, Kent received another major recognition, the SPE and AIME Honorary Member Award. "For his brilliant 40- year career encompassing the depth and combination of physical concepts and sound mathematical modeling in all his work and publications, for his contributions and concepts significantly advancing reservoir simulation, and for his work on reservoir simulation of fractured reservoirs, the most important piece of work on dual-porosity modeling.”

Then in 2016, Kent was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington, DC. NAE recognizes the superior achievements of engineers and members are elected by peers. This is one of the highest honors in US Engineering. Kent's family attended the ceremony where he proudly honored them in his acceptance speech.

Kent’s genuine kindness and generosity were well known by all he met. He was the most loving and caring husband, father and friend that anyone could ask for. He truly walked in the footsteps of Jesus, always putting others first. We have been blessed. Heaven has received a brilliant, kind, gentle, wonderful man.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Bartlesville First Church 4715 SE Price Rd., Bartlesville, OK 74006 or to Bartlesville Community Foundation (Thomas Family Education Fund) 208 E 4th St., Bartlesville, OK 74003. Visitation will be held at Stumpff Funeral Home in Bartlesville on Sunday, May 17 from 3-5. A private family graveside service will be held at G.A.R. Cemetery in Miami and a public memorial church service will be held at a later date. Friends who wish may sign the online guest book and leave condolences at www.stumpff.org.