G. P. Gentry passed from this life on March 10, 2019 at the age of 101, he was born Oct. 24, 1917 in Killeen, Texas. He was the sixth of seven children born to G. P. Gentry and Margaret (Talley) Gentry. The family moved to Oklahoma in 1919. They maintained a home in the Durant area.
He was educated in Durant public schools and an honor graduate of Durant High School. He graduated from Southeastern State College with a Bachelor of Arts in Education on July 25, 1940.
He married Lucille Tomlin in Oct. 1941 at Caddo, Okla. and to this union two sons were born-Michael and Bill. His love for his sons and their accomplishments was a part of his everyday life.
In civilian life, he worked 32 years for the Dept. of Wildlife. He was assigned to Bryan County but worked any county on special assignments.
During both his high school and college career he was a football player, lettering four years on the Southeastern team and being named Oklahoma Collegiate Conference All-Conference halfback during his senior year. He spent happy hours on Lake Texoma fishing and in Bryan County hunting. He enjoyed many, many hours of golf at Durant County Club. He made his fifth career hole-in-one at age 77.
G. P. began his military career with the 45th Division in October 1934. During the Division’s state-side training, he was promoted through the ranks and commissioned a 2nd Lt. in June 1941. He was commanding an anti-tank company when the Division landed in Sicily on July 10, 1943. Following the Sicilian Campaign, he participated in the Salerno Beachhead landing and the assault on the German Winter Defense Line in Italy. The Division disembarked on the Anzio beachhead in January 1944.
In mid-June 1944, the Division was again withdrawn from the line to prepare for its fourth amphibious assault. In August, the Division landed on the southern coast of France and began its long drive north through France toward Germany. The 45th Infantry Division crossed into Germany on March 15, 1945 through the formidable Siegfried Line. The Division moved rapidly to the northeast, capturing Bamberg, Nurnberg, and the German concentration camp Dachau.
The war in Europe was over on May 8, 1945 and he was released from active service.
In 1950, the 45th was again called to active duty. He assumed command of the 1st Bn 180th and continued to serve in this capacity through Japan and Korea. He returned to U.S. and assigned Commander of 2nd Bn, 180th, which he held until his retirement from the National Guard on April 2, 1966.
Among his awards were the; Combat Infantry Badge with star, Bronze Star, European Theater of Operations (with one silver star, three bronze stars, one arrowhead) WWII Victory Medal, and Oklahoma meritorious service medal.
G. P. is survived by his beloved sons, Mike Gentry and wife Lois of Sierra Vista, Arizona and Bill Gentry and wife Loretta of Sulphur, Oklahoma; grandson, Christopher Gentry of Sierra Vista, Arizona: granddaughters, Cynthia Carr and husband Jerod of Tucson, Arizona, and Amanda Garnand and husband Jeremy of Norman, Oklahoma: step-grandsons, Brandon Weber of Pueblo, Colorado, Russell Weber and wife Monica of Sulphur, Louisiana; 10 great-grandchildren; he was also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, other family members, and longtime caregiver Shanna Norris, and caregiver Jennie Maes.
G.P. was preceded in death by his parents, G. P. and Margaret Gentry; wife, Lucille Gentry; brothers, Dewey, Dillard, Talley, Blandy and Gordon; and sister, Lena.
Mr. Gentry will receive full military honors by the Ft. Sill honor guard at 2 p.m. Monday, March 18 at the Holmes~Coffey~Murray Funeral Home in Durant, Oklahoma. Family and friends will gather from 1-2 p.m. before the service. His final resting place will be at the Highland Cemetery in Durant. The honor guard will serve as his pallbearers.
Services are under the direction of Holmes~Coffey~Murray Funeral Home in Durant, Okla.