|Birth: ||Jun. 8, 1926|
West Virginia, USA
|Death: ||Sep. 11, 2011|
Lt. Colonel Dennis Verlin Gentry Jr., United States Army (Ret.), 85, of Blacksburg, Va., died on Sunday, September 11, 2011, at Montgomery County Regional Hospital. He was born in Welch, W.Va., on June 8, 1926.
He was preceded in death by his father, Dennis V. Gentry Sr.; mother, Margaret Issacs Gentry; and daughter, Joyce Moore Gentry Smoot.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, daughter, sons. He has five grandchildren.
Dennis lived his early years in Galax, Va. He was named "Most Likely to Succeed" in his Galax High School graduating Class of 1943. He and sweetheart, Kathleen, were also named "Cutest Couple." He attended University of North Carolina for one semester before joining the Army.
He served in the Pacific in World War II in the Philippines and occupied Japan. After the war he married Kathleen in 1947 and returned to University of North Carolina on the GI bill graduating with a degree in Commerce in 1949. As a ready reservist, he was called back into the Army during the Korean War and decided on a military artillery career. He rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel serving in Texas, Maryland, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Korea, and received Army Commendation and Legion of Merit recognitions.
In 1963 Dennis had a ROTC assignment as Assistant Professor of Military Science at Virginia Tech, thus beginning his family's long association with Blacksburg. He graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kan., in 1966 followed by service in Vietnam. He retired in 1968 after 23 years of service.
Dennis enjoyed 43 post military retirement years as a resident of Blacksburg. His second career was Plant Protection Manager at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant from 1969 to 1984.
One the most enjoyable periods of his life was his involvement with the Blacksburg Electronic Village. In the early 1990s Blacksburg was a pacesetter for the internet and Dennis, fascinated and enthusiastic, became the lead spokesperson, coordinator, and teacher for senior citizens. When other communities from around the country came to study Blacksburg's Electronic Village model, Dennis demonstrated the possibilities and involvement for seniors. Not only did he meet many new friends, he briefed delegations from as far away as Japan and Brazil and was quoted in National Geographic, the Chicago Tribune, USA Weekend, and Esquire. Per American Way Magazine in 1996, Dennis was "singing the praises of cyberspace, gently prodding his friends to become part of the wired generation." He was recognized as Senior Volunteer of the Year in 1998.
Neighbors all think of Dennis as the friendly elderly man who took twice daily walks greeting everyone and smiling. In addition to the Blacksburg Senior Center his other involvement over the years was as a volunteer with Hospice, usher at church services, Toastmasters Club, tennis leagues, and American Legion. As a veteran of three wars, he was always particularly proud on patriotic holidays.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Blacksburg Rescue Squad, 200 Progress Street, NE, Blacksburg, VA 24060 or to the Friends of the Huckleberry, Inc., P.O. Box 925, Blacksburg, VA 24063.
Visitation for friends and family will be held on Thursday afternoon , September 15, 2011, from 2 to 4 p.m. at McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg, Va., 540-552-3211.
Published in Roanoke Times on September 14, 2011
Dennis Verlin Gentry (1900 - 1963)
Margaret Woltz Issacs Gentry (1903 - 1987)
Joyce Moore Gentry Smoot (1947 - 1998)*
Maintained by: Victoria Taylor-True
Originally Created by: Randy Shepherd
Record added: Sep 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 76488147