Kent R. Beittel

December 02, 1947 ‒ October 16, 2020

Columbus, Ohio
Formerly of Delaware, Ohio

Kent R. Beittel, born December 2, 1947, went with God, the Great Physician, on October 16, 2020 and reunited with his loving wife Mary.

He is the loved son of Dale and Barbara (Kolb) Beittel and the extraordinary patriarch of the Beittel clan. On June 12, 1988, he married the love of his life Mary Casbarro. With her by his side, he poured his immense well-spring of love into their children; Sue (Mike) Poulton, Dee Pendleton, Don (Stacy) Miller, Shanti (Michael) Kelly, Brian (Laura) Powell. He also embraced and cherished their nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Kent and his wife served for over three decades as the leadership partnership which created and managed The Open Shelter in Columbus. He had blessed the lives of thousands of our homeless neighbors with his gifts of insight, wisdom, resources, and genuine respect and compassion. He has enriched the lives of countless volunteers with whom he joined and guided in opportunities for coordinated service and sharing. He has been the ally of all who genuinely cared about community stability and inclusion, and a champion for all who needed an ally.

Kent graduated from Albion College in 1972 with a B.A. in Philosophy and later went on to earn two more degrees from the Methodist Theological School in Delaware. In addition to his work at the shelter, he is also known for his work with the Delaware City-County Health Department and the Delaware County United Way as well as the establishment of the Open Door Clinic and the Huckleberry House. In 2017, Kent and his wife Mary were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Columbus Coalition For the Homeless for their unending commitment to homeless persons despite monumental political and economic obstacles.

Kent’s faith in God and love for people is evidenced, not only by his commitment of the guests of The Open Shelter and his family, but also by his dedication to Broad Street United Methodist Church.

As he begins this new aspect of life, joining with those who love him and have gone on before him, he is remembered, respected, and loved by his brothers Brooks (Georgina) and Todd (Leesa) Beittel and sister Elizabeth Beittel, many cousins, nieces, and nephews, and thousands from the streets.

All aspects of this life, so worth celebrating, are grounded in his amazing clarity of faith and depth of love with which he has blessed so many.

The family asks that community members and friends join them at the Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center, 101 Valleyside Drive at W. William Street, Delaware, OH 43015 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm on November 7, 2020 for a period of reflection.

A  private, family only memorial celebration service will be held Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 3:00 pm at Broad Street United Methodist Church. The celebration of life service will be live streamed for anyone that would like to watch at, the churches Facebook page, and also on YouTube.

His children have asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to The Open Shelter, 61 E. Mound St., Columbus, Ohio 43215, or the Kent & Mary Beittel Do No Harm program for single parents, 61 E Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215

To share a fond memory of Kent or to leave a message of condolence, please visit

The Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center in Delaware is honored to be serving the Beittel Family during this time.

  • So sorry for your loss, but I know he is happily hugging Aunt Mary right now and embracing their new time together. The kids and I send our love to each of you! Mary and Kent were such wonderful, loving people and they take such great care of Paul and I when we needed a place to stay during Olivia’s NICU days, having that warm bed during such a trying time was such a blessing! I have truly enjoyed family gatherings over the last ten years and I am so grateful that I was able to get to know Kent through the years.

  • Kent is one of those people that cannot be replaced nor duplicated. His energy will live on and on in the work he has done. Rest Kent – you were one of a kind. Your spirit lives on in all the lives you have touched and all the lives they will touch.

  • Kent Has been an inspiration to me since childhood. He was my oldest cousin, and one I always looked up to. He always followed his heart and knew who he was and what he was meant to accomplish.
    His founding work and ministry at The Open Shelter has always been an inspiration to us, and a blessing to our family, even though we lived far from each other.
    He was a generous servant to his Lord and the purpose he was given in life. He was loved and respected by his whole family, whether near or far. His example in life is one To take to heart and pass on, to make this world a kinder And more Caring place. He emulated the scripture passage in Proverbs 14:31; “whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but who ever is kind to the needy honors God.” RIP dear cousin. A job well done. Love, June, Rob, and family

  • My condolences to Kent’s family. I will always remember his spirited advocacy for the homeless in Columbus. Kent frequently made government officials uneasy with his appearances before City Council; pointing out the deficiencies in housing and health care for the homeless. As Health Commissioner for Columbus, I was appreciative of his support for the development of the neighbor health centers and a strong public health system. Rest in peace Kent.

  • Kent was such an amazing man to know. I met him in the early years as one of the volunteers helping to open the Open Door Clinic. My memories of that time were of him as such a dedicated, caring fellow hippie, he and Alex. I remember conversations at the time while putting up donated meds, much of which came from Ross Labs, talking about a society that didn’t realize its addictions donating to a society that was aware of its own. And the sign in the waiting room sticks forever in my memory, “no holding”, to protect the integrity of the Clinic. A lot of free medical assistance took place there for a community in need. Kent always had a vision of help for those in need and an amazing ability to see his visions through to reality and garner the assistance needed. May he rest in well earned peace. My thoughts and prayers to his family.

  • Sorry to hear of Kent’s passing. He always fought the good fight for those less fortunate. Columbus was a much better place with his work.
    My condolences to the family.

  • Those of us in the Community Festival (COMFEST) family, were sad to hear of the passing of Kent. Kent and Mary both were acknowledged as “Honored Community Activists” in 2012 for their service to the community.
    I first met Kent in 1970 in my work with Switchboard, a 24 hour phone crisis center in Columbus. He was operating Huckleberry House serving runaways and troubled youth. We were sister agencies, funded by the Metropolitan Area Church Board, and we often referred clients to them. Huck House was a valuable resource not readily available in the early 70’s and still pushes the boundaries even today.
    Kent will be missed, but his legacy will live on.

  • I knew Kent from childhood and loved his parents deeply. His father was our Minister and his mother led the choir at Riverside Methodist Church. From there I admired him for all the work he and Mary did in our neighborhood. Hope there is a happily ever after for them.

  • Kent was an amazingly gifted individual who used his many talents to offer a hand up for so many left behind. Thank you to all the Beittle family for sharing so much of Kent’s precious time, energy, talents, and grace with all of us. Kent was a landmark that will truly be missed!

  • Dear Beth, Tim, and Todd,

    You already will recall that your brother was an important part of our lives during our high school years at Riverside UMC. We count those years at Riverside as important ones of growth, learning and preparation that shaped us for the decades that have followed. With Kent and all of you, we learned life altering lessons from your parents in choirs, church school classes, worship, youth fellowship and in countless personal interactions. Those experiences, most shared with Kent, shaped our future church vocations as they shaped his vocation of service to his neighbors and community.
    But what you may not know is that Kent was also one of those people whose life kept intersecting with ours in numerous ways since those years at Riverside. While we lost touch with Kent during his and our college years, our paths crossed again at MTSO, in his community ministry in the University District in the late 70’s, in Delaware where we came to live in 1975 and remain, in our support for his work with the Open Shelter, in conversations with Mike’s brother, Bill, about the changes through which Kent and Mary shepherded the organization and work over the years, and more recently at the celebration of your dad’s life in Marietta and Bill’s life earlier this year.
    Over the past 6 decades, our respect, care and support of Kent and his ministry have continued to grow. We consider him a life-long friend, colleague and mentor. We have always admired his commitment to sharing hospitality and love as he cared for others.
    We are honored tol continue our support of his ministry with an ongoing contribution to the Kent and Mary Beittel Fund at the Columbus Foundation. God bless you in this time of sorrow as you celebrate Kent and Mary’s lives of love. Michael and Sally (Beck) Casto

  • It was an honor to cross paths with Kent even though it was under grim circumstances. He was such an amazing person who lived a legendary life. He will never be forgotten. Prayers for his family and friends during this difficult time.

  • Thoughts and Prayers to the family. Kent was a great guy and him and Mary helped so many and now are back together

  • I had the privilege of meeting Kent back in 1996 when I worked for the now closed Columbus Area, Inc. One of my clients was homeless and staying at The Open Shelter. I remember the abundance of help this client received that allowed him to move into his own apartment. This was an inspiration to me and shaped my career as I soon began working for another organization that provided direct services to the homeless population-something that I am still doing at this time. Kent was such a giving and caring person, that even as he was dealing with his own health issues-he always took interest in asking about my Mom-who is currently in declining health.
    He will never be forgotten and I will miss our talks and his humor.
    Peace to the fallen.