BY CARISSA SITKI
A tragic house fire during the morning hours of Friday, April 16, claimed the life of beloved St. Elmo resident, Ralph “Kent” Janes, age 77, according to the Fayette County Coroner.
For many years, Janes was a photographer and writer for the St. Elmo Devonian newspaper. Though the paper ceased publication, Janes continued to attend community and school events, capturing precious moments for St. Elmo residents. “He was a promoter of the City and of the City’s functions,” Incumbent Mayor Ernie Myers told the News Banner, “And he was a good friend.”
Myers said that the events Janes photographed included school sports and events for the American Legion. Janes also covered an array of other community happenings that were hosted by various groups and organizations throughout St. Elmo.
Mayor-Elect Kimberly Baron told the News Banner that most people in the City knew him. “I’ve heard him called the ‘eyes of St. Elmo’,” said Baron, “It was touching the way he memorialized so many people’s special moments.”
According to Baron, Janes had been taking photos for so long in the community, she estimates that he had captured memories for three-generations and would often give folks copies of their photos. “I remember having coffee at Mary Ann’s and he handed me an envelope of photos with my name on it,” said Baron, “I’m sure he did this for many people.”
According to Myers Janes was very well-liked and his work was appreciated by the community, “Kent Janes was a very well respected person,” said Myers, “He would do anything for anyone.” In 2016, Janes’s positive impact on the community was recognized when he was named St. Elmo’s Citizen of the Year During the Labor Day Celebration.