In Memoriam: Kent D. Hensley 1960 – 2022

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A Celebration of Life for Kent Hensley will be held August 6, 2022 from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Winter Lounge & Rooftop Deck (7th floor) of The Dayton’s Project building in downtown Minneapolis. Hensley was born July 28, 1960 in Eldora, Iowa, and passed July 14, 2022 in Minneapolis. In his 40-year career, Hensley touched many lives and his untimely passing inspired an outpouring on social media.

At the time of his passing from cancer, Hensley operated Hensley Creative consulting with department store and chain stores. He founded Hensley in 2015 and prior to that was a partner in Storeworks launched in 1999. Earlier, Hensley served as creative director at Musicland Corp.

One of his most recent projects was to bring back holiday windows to the former Dayton’s Department Store, now known as the Dayton’s Project, in November 2021. Project developers tapped Hensley to revive the store’s legendary window displays. Of course, Hensley was just the person to call given he worked as art director and creative manager of Dayton Hudson’s advertising and marketing department in the 1980s and early ‘90s. In turn, he contacted other artists to design nine windows in the former Dayton’s flagship, which was taken over by Macy’s in 2006 and closed in 2017.

Hensley told the Waseca County News, “It’s been fun to bring a crew that knows how to do this work and clients that really want to make something happen that’s exciting.” In fact, the team transformed the corner window at Eighth Street and Nicollet with 23 years’ worth of Dayton’s Santa Bears, an annual tradition that started when Hensley was employed there.

Hensley joined the Institute in 2009 as a Professional member. He was also active in many local organizations and charities. Said Sharon Lessard, RDI, and former Minneapolis | St Paul City Center President, “He was a friend and fellow industry partner.  He actually recruited me to be on the D.I.V.A. Foundation board (a national non-profit beacon of hope in the fight against HIV/AIDS, life-threatening illnesses and related stigma). I then recruited him to be a part of the Institute as a founding Chapter member (as the Minneapolis | St. Paul City Center became a Chapter).” Hensley would serve as Minneapolis | St. Paul Chapter President and Chairman from 2013 to 2017.

Kent was predeceased by his father, John Hensley. He will live on in the memories of his son, Tanner Hensley, his daughter Jessica Hensley, his mother Linda Hensley, his sister Amy Scholl, and his brothers Curt Hensley and Eric Hensley.

Find full information about Kent Hensley’s Celebration of Life here.

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