John Kent Sedgwick was born in Weston, Ontario on March 13th, 1941. In 1964 he graduated from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography. During this time, he also wrote an undergraduate thesis titled “Effects of Land Use on Night Temperatures in London, Ontario.” In 1966 he graduated with his M.A. in Geography from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. His M.A. thesis was titled “Geomorphology and Mass Budget of Peyto Glacier, Alberta.”
Kent Sedgwick came to Prince George in 1970 and held a position as a Geography Instructor at the College of New Caledonia. He was also a frequent guest lecturer for history courses at the University of Northern British Columbia, and later, from 2003 until 2009, an adjunct professor at UNBC for geography. His expertise was in physical geography, particularly glaciation, hydrology, weather and climate, and alpine studies, and historical geography as well as cartography. He also taught courses on wildland recreation. After teaching at CNC for nearly a decade, in 1983 he became a Senior Urban Planner for the City of Prince George. In his professional relationship with the University of Northern British Columbia, he also contributed to research on the Upper Fraser as part of the UNBC-led Upper Fraser Historical Geography Project between 1999 and 2002.
Alongside his professional work, Kent Sedgwick was extensively involved in the community. During his teaching career he conducted more than 50 field trips for students and other professionals, including the Federation of BC Writers (2000); the Western Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers (2003); and the BC Heritage Federation (2003). He was also the treasurer and later the president of the Alexander Mackenzie Voyageur Route Association. Sedgwick also worked directly with the Huble Homestead / Giscome Portage Historical Society. Significantly, Sedgwick worked with the Huble Society, June Chamberland and Curle Witte to transcribe and edit the 1909-1919 diaries of Albert Huble.
He was a Member and Chairmen of the Heritage Advisory Committee for the City of Prince George from 1978 until 1983, and then was the secretary to the committee while employed in the Planning Division from 1983 until 2006. Through the Heritage Advisory Committee, he aided in many projects to protect and acknowledge local history and heritage. These projects included an inventory of heritage buildings in Prince George; research on the origins and desecration of the L’heidli T’enneh cemetery at Fort George Park; confirmation for rezoning various lots in Prince George; and developing tours of downtown Prince George. Kent Sedgwick also aided the Prince George Retired Teachers Association with conducting research on previous and current schools within Prince George and region.
Kent Sedgwick was well-known for his enthusiasm and passion in local history and for conducting meticulous research on the history of Prince George and the Central Interior. He had also compiled and edited works of local history, both on his own and aiding others in their writing. His own written works were recognized with the Jeanne Clarke Memorial Local History award in 1991 for his extensive efforts to preserve Prince George’s history. He received the same award for his book Giscome Chronicle: The Rise and Demise of a Sawmill Community in Central British Columbia (2008). Some of Sedgwick’s other published works include Lheidli T’enneh Cemetery, Prince George: A documented history (2012); Hotels, Hoteliers and Liquor Stores : The story behind a Prince George heritage building (2011); Monumental Transformation: The story of Prince George’s national historic monument (2009); Pan Am and All That: World War II aviation in Prince George, British Columbia (2008); and Reflections on Architects and Architecture in Prince George 1950-2000: An interview of Trelle Morrow (2007).
Kent Sedgwick passed away on December 6, 2011, after a long struggle with cancer.