Working, Smiling, Winning; Lindsey's Positive Outlook Let Him Deal with Chemotherapy While Working on a Series of Documentaries

By Patton, Charlie | The Florida Times Union, November 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

Working, Smiling, Winning; Lindsey's Positive Outlook Let Him Deal with Chemotherapy While Working on a Series of Documentaries


Patton, Charlie, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Charlie Patton

Last Jan. 19 was a momentous day for Kent Lindsey.

That evening, Lindsey, 59, met with the leadership of the organization Leadership Jacksonville to pitch them on a series of TV episodes he and his wife and business partner, Pepper Lindsey, wanted to make about visionary Jacksonville leaders.

The idea had grown out of an 11-minute video Lindsey Films had made in 2009 when Leadership Jacksonville gave Fred Schultz its first lifetime achievement award. The Lindseys had spent more than six hours interviewing Schultz and it occurred to them that a longer film could be made about Schultz and that similar films could be made about other Jacksonville leaders.

The first 30-minute episode in Leadership Jacksonville's Jacksonville Legacy Series, produced by Lindsey Films, will be shown Thursday at 8 p.m. on WJCT TV-7. It's about former Jacksonville University president Fran Kinne, The Lindseys have also completed episodes on Schultz and Alton Yates and have plans for more.

While his Jan. 19 meeting with Leadership Jacksonville worked out well, a visit with a doctor earlier in the day didn't. Lindsey, a non-smoker and workout warrior, got the news that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. A three-centimeter tumor had been found in his right lung.

Lindsey said when he heard the word cancer, "I gave myself 30 seconds to make a decision. Was I going to beat this or was it going to beat me?"

He said he decided he would defeat "this thing sitting in my chest that we called Lumpy."

In fact, he said, he decided to look "at this situation as if it was a gift" since it led to an outpouring of "love, support, friendship and kindness of so many people."

"Kent has always been a gusto kind of guy, the person who always sees the glass full and believes that under all of that manure there must be a pony," his friend Mike Tolbert wrote in an email. "His positive attitude, work ethic and approach to life was impressive before his illness. His fight back has been an inspiration and a lesson for us all."

Musician Mike Shackleford, who performed with Lindsey in the band Justin from 1974-85, said, "He amazed me from the minute he found out about it ... I tell him all the time that he is my hero."

Lindsey said one of the "blessings" of his cancer has been his renewed friendship with Shackleford. Lindsey left the band in 1985 to concentrate on acting and to serve as host of "Safari Sam," a children's television show that ran from 1985-98 on WAWS TV-30.

Shackleford said that the deep friendship they had developed didn't go away but that they began spending less and less time together as their lives moved in different directions. But when Lindsey told Shackleford he had cancer - they were walking into the funeral of Shackleford's mother-in-law at the time - Shackleford realized he wanted to be involved in Lindsey's life again. …

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