Long-time expat Roy Lent dies after struggle with cancer

Expats in Costa Rica have a knack for juggling more businesses and enthusiastiasim than most locals where they have settled or where they came from.

For Roy Lent it was a way of life

“He worked all around and he would do all sorts of things,” said his son Roy “Billy” Lent. “He did too much, I just can’t cover it all.”

Lent died Friday after a long and painful struggle with cancer. He succumbed to respiratory arrest at his home in Escazú, said his son. He would have turned 81 next month.

Professionally, Lent was a botanist and received his education at the University of Maine. He moved to Costa Rica about 45 years ago in order to study plants both here and throughout Central America.

As a result of his studies, over 20 species of plants were named after him, according to his son, including theCestrum lentii, a flowering shrub that grows on either side of the Talamanca mountains.

Additionally, Lent used his expertise in plants to work for businesses such as fruit companies, orchid farming, designing new biofuels and making passion fruit wine. He also was a founder of the local computer club.

“I’m a strange one: a 75 year-old wanna be . . . who lives in Costa Rica,” he wrote on a bulletin Web site for scientists. “My original training was in botany but I’ve also worked as a teacher, farmer, plant breeder, plant explorer and numerous other things.”

His son said that this was just a few of the things he did that involved botany.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” added the younger, adding that his father taught English at a local school, taught people how to use computers, became a webmaster and acted in local theater performances.

However his son also recounted how he had a difficult battle with skin cancer, which started on his ear which eventually had to be removed in two separate surgeries. About a year later, he went through a seven-hour long surgery to remove several tumors, and that largely gave him his life back.

“After that he enjoyed a really good year because he wasn’t in pain anymore,” said his son.

In that final year, the son said that his father dedicated himself to setting up a sustainable community that was focused on providing care to those who require assisted living while adopting a healthier lifestyle.

He was unable to see that project completed, but the other co-founders of Gaia Sana have set up a Web site, which is HERE! 

The younger Lent said that his father’s will was that his body immediately be donated to the Universidad de Ciencias Medicas for research and that there be no funeral service beforehand.

In addition to his son, Lent is survived by his wife, Margarita.

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