Jean Gentry

Jean Gentry, 81, of St. Joseph, passed away on March 8, 2014 after a valiant and graceful two-year battle with cancer.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday,  March 13 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Bernard Catholic Church, Benton Harbor, with Father William J. Jacobs, Jr. officiating . Visitation will be Wednesday,March 12 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.  at Starks& Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, 2650 Niles Road, St. Joseph with the Rosary being recited at 7 p.m.. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery. Those wishing to share a memory or sign the guest book online may do so at

Jean was born on July 1, 1932 in Evansville, Indiana, the daughter of Henry and Flora Emig. She lived in Evansville until 1970 when she moved with her family to Benton Harbor/St. Joseph in 1970.

Jean was trained as a registered nurse and raised 14 children, all of whom survive. She was a long time member and church leader of Saint Bernard’s and later SS Johns & Bernard Parish. She led RCIA for many years and was responsible for initiating many people into the Catholic Church. She was a volunteer at funeral luncheons, jail ministry,  Birthright, Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen, Bible study, Benton Harbor Readiness Center, and was a member of SS Johns & Bernard Parish Women’s Ministry.

Mrs. Gentry is survived by children Christopher (Julie), Cadillac, Mich.; Peter, St. Joseph; Karen, Comstock Park, Mich.; Stephen (Lisa) Lake Forest, Ill.; Timothy (Brenda), Grand Rapids; Ann (Brian) Price, Walker, Mich.; Paul, Austin, Texas; Daniel (Helen Loidl), Harleysville, Pa.; Jane (Mike) Lally, Ada, Mich.; Mary (Tom) Cole, Niles; Michael, St. Joseph; Sarah (Franco) Rodriguez, Oswego, Ill.; Kevin (Michele), Huntley, Ill. and Monica (Dave) Norwood, Austin, Texas. She  is also survived by 19 grandchildren and three great grandchildren  – Amanda (Chris) Gruber and their children Mia, Matthew and Robert; Katie Gentry, Ashley Gentry, Patrick Dine, Corey (Renee) Dine, Sean (Jana) Dine, Martin Gentry, Alan, Colleen, Bridget and Brendan Lally, Abbey and Caleb Cole, Francisco, Benjamin, Samuel and Elizabeth Rodriguez, Alison Gentry  and Audrey Norwood. She is also survived by 8 step grandchildren, nephew Robert (Carol) Emig, Evansville, Ind. , brother and sister in laws – Bud (Elma) Gentry, Lafayette, Ind.; Jane (Bill) Shackelford, Owensville,Ind., Jill (David) Larson, Princeton, Ind. and 21 other nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband Robert Gentry, parents Henry and Flora Emig, granddaughter Emily Gentry, brother Bill (Mary Ellen) Emig and sister Kathryn Emig.

Jean was a very social, caring and faith-filled person with the extraordinary ability to expand her heart and care about and include more people in her life. She enjoyed spending time with family and friends, travel and reading.

Her family greatly appreciates all the prayers, love and care given to Jean by her many friends as well as her oncologist Dr. Edmund Paloyan and his staff and to son Pete whose care allowed her to remain at home for as long as possible.

Donations in Jean’s name may be given to the Readiness Center in Benton Harbor, Hanson Hospice Center, or SS Johns & Bernard Parish.

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