Diakonissa Amalia “Lia” Collis Kent, 56, fell asleep in the Lord on December 11th, surrounded by her family at home in Bedford, Massachusetts after bravely fighting Frontotemporal Dementia and ALS for over 4 years.
Lia was born in Washington D.C. to immigrant parents from the island of Naxos, Greece. She grew up in a large Greek community outside of Washington D.C., attending St. Sophia and then St. George every Sunday with her sister Sophia. Lia graduated from Wootton High School and went on to the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied communications and was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. It was during her time there that she met the love of her life, Gary, a young midshipman from Maine. Lia and Gary were married at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bethesda, MD and as newlyweds moved out to California for several years per Gary’s Navy orders. They later transferred back to Maryland where they raised their four children, Maria, Richard Petros, Eleni and Joanna. In 2011, the family relocated to Boston and were quickly embraced by the Sts. Constantine and Helen Community. Lia enjoyed the beauty of New England – making frequent trips to neighboring Walden Pond and taking weekend drives to York Beach in Maine. She assimilated to every aspect of New England life – including becoming a die-hard Patriots fan.
All who knew Lia can attest to these three things she loved: Her family, her faith, and art.
Lia was a dedicated and loving mother to her four children who were her world. She spent most of her years as a stay-at-home mom, giving her children all she had. Lia raised them to be dreamers, and constantly encouraged them to pursue what makes them happy, be kind and love God.
Lia had a very close relationship with her faith. She was a true servant of the Lord, always finding ways to volunteer and help those in need. Lia was an active member of the church community at St. George in Bethesda, Maryland. She worked with the Priest to establish a monthly Challenge liturgy for the elderly and disabled that had challenges attending regular Sunday liturgy. Many have no idea the work Lia did for others, as she helped people so humbly, behind the scenes, out of the kindness and empathy she had for the sick and suffering.
Lia was an incredibly talented mixed-media artist. She loved expressing herself through her art and art journals. She authored a long-time typepad blog called “Art Junk” where she documented her art adventures and preached the importance of incorporating creativity into everyday life. She touched many with over 500+ posts, sharing the inspiring positive messages in her art and encouraging people to be brave in their creative pursuits. Although Lia could no longer communicate in the final years of her life, her family is blessed to have her blog as a reminder of her profound words such as this, in a 2007 post she wrote, “Everyone is a creative being. Everyone has a light. Everyone has the power and ability to inspire.”
Aside from her faith, her children, and her art, Lia’s most exceptional love was for her husband of 35 years, Gary, her “knight in shining armor” as she would say. Their love for each other is inspiring to all who knew them as a couple.
Lia is survived by her husband, Gary, her children, Maria (Mike), Richard (Marianne), Eleni and Joanna, her grandson and namesake, Liam Nektarios Beers, her sister Sophia (Joe), her mother Maria and her many nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her father, Peter Tak Collis.
A funeral service is planned for Tuesday, December 15th at 11:00 am at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Andover, MA followed by a burial at Shawsheen Cemetery in Bedford, MA. Due to COVID safety precautions the church will be at limited capacity and unfortunately there will be limited ability to interact with the family at this time.
The Kent family invites you to watch and pray with them during the funeral service via Sts. Constantine & Helen YouTube Channel: https://m.youtube.com/user/AndoverOrthodox
A celebration of Lia’s life will be planned for next summer when all can attend. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Art for Amalia, a fundraiser that benefits Dr. Dickerson’s world-renown dementia research at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Frontotemporal Disorders Unit. You can donate at https://because.massgeneral.org/artforamalia