GREENVILLE, KY., Larry Brent Yonts, of Greenville passed away on August 20, 2021, at the age of 72. Although he was fully vaccinated, Brent died due to COVID-19. His family believes his death was preventable, and it is their prayer that everyone who is eligible get vaccinated to avoid the type of cruel suffering this virus brings. Brent was born in Greenville in 1949, the son of the late Larry and Dorothy Yonts. He graduated from Muhlenberg Central High School in 1967 where he was President of the Future Farmers of America. He went to college at Murray State University and graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a minor in English, Agriculture and Military Science. He then served in the Army from June 1971 until July 1973 where he was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas and completed his service as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army Adjutant General’s Corps as a reserve in 1977. Brent was able to attend law school thanks to the GI Bill at the University of Kentucky where he also drove a school bus. He made the decision to practice law rather than become a teacher following his law school graduation, and he practiced law in Greenville until his death. It was in Greenville that he met the love of his life, Janice Covington Yonts, where they built their life and raised their three children, Emily, Ellen and Harrison. Brent started a general law practice that eventually evolved into an administrative one focused on helping those suffering from disabilities, specifically black lung. He was fortunate to have some of the most loyal employees through the years who became like his family. His love of the law allowed for a decision to run for office which after several setbacks eventually resulted in him becoming the Gentleman from Muhlenberg, District 15. He proudly held this title from January 1997 until December 2016. As an elected official, he made it his duty to serve the people of both Muhlenberg and Hopkins Counties. He made the long drive to Frankfort many times over 20 years, but loved every minute of it. He is remembered as a true friend of working families especially the region’s miners. One would be hard pressed to find any legislator more dedicated or sharply dressed than Brent. It was a never-ending source of joy to serve in this role but none greater than the day in December 2014 when he swore in his wife for her first term as Mayor of Greenville. Brent was a member of First Baptist Church where he served as both Treasurer and Deacon for many years. He loved to decorate for Christmas and when his children were young, all the neighborhood kids would help him beginning in October only to finish just after Thanksgiving. They were known as the “Norman Circle Lighting Crew.” He was happy to tell you about his days growing up in the community of Rosewood and it was a dream come true when he and his wife purchased a home on Lake Malone. He spent many days relaxing in his lake house and looking out over his children and grandchildren enjoying the lake so close to the farming community where he grew up. Though he served in many roles throughout the community in his lifetime, his greatest role was that of husband, father and grandaddy. His kids and later grandkids never had to doubt how much he loved and adored them as he made it apparent with every breath in his body.
Brent is survived by his wife of nearly 45 years Janice Covington Yonts, his adoring children Emily (Chris) Sparks of New Orleans, Louisiana, Ellen (Dave) Suetholz of Eminence, Kentucky and Harrison (Kindly) Yonts of Nashville, Tennessee. He is also survived by his 4 grandchildren Colson Sparks, Cooper Sparks, Phoebe Suetholz and Fiona Suetholz, 2 brothers Joel (Vicki) Yonts of Rosewood, Kentucky and Jeff (Sharon) Yonts of Tyewhoppety, Kentucky and his sister Susan (Scott) Wells of Greenville, Kentucky; as well as several nieces and nephews. Brent’s family want to thank every person at both the Greenville and Owensboro hospitals who took care of him from August 2, 2021 until August 17, 2021 while he was in isolation due to COVID-19. Their incredible kindness and compassion will never be forgotten.
Graveside service with military honors will be conducted Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 11AM Central Time at Evergreen Cemetery in Greenville, Kentucky with the Reverend John Galyen and Eulogy by Dave Suetholz. A walk-through visitation will be at the First Baptist Church CLC in Greenville, Kentucky on August 23, 2021 from 3PM until 8PM Central Time. Masks will be required.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Murray State University Foundation, c/o the Office of Development, 200 Heritage Hall, Murray, Kentucky 42071. Please write “Brent and Jan Yonts Scholarship” in the memo section and call the MSU Foundation at (270) 809-3048 for any questions.
Online condolences to the family may be made at www.garysfuneralhome.net