ASHEVILLE- Doward J. Gentry, “D.J” 90, of Asheville, passed away Monday, November 5, 2018 at Valor Hospice at the VA Hospital in Asheville, after a short battle with suspected pancreatic cancer.
Mr. Gentry was born November 22, 1927 to the late John and Dora Shelton Gentry in the Shelton Laurel community of Madison County. Doward was preceded in death by his parents, and his eight siblings, Chester, Roxie, Joe, Eppie, Dewey, Muncie, Carson, Russell and their spouses. He is also predeceased by wife of 65 years, Robena Tweed Gentry who died February 13, 2018, as well as his daughter, Connie Lynne Gentry who died on January 18, 2011.
Mr. Gentry is survived by his son, Dean Gentry and his wife Pam of La Grange, GA as well as daughters, Sharon Owen and her husband Rusty, and Kimberly Gentry Justus, and her husband Steve Williams, of Asheville, as well as stepson Ray Tweed, of Marshall. He is also survived by grandchildren: Aben Gentry (Tamara), Chelsea Gentry, Hannah Patterson (Grant), Mason Gentry (Natasha), Katelin Bell, Matthew Owen, Meredith Thomas (Paul), Aidan Mae Justus, Jessica Tweed (Kenny Deweese) and Jennifer Ball (Lee). Great-grandchildren: Laurie Gentry, Gideon Cuadrado, Judah Cuadrado, Liv Patterson, Maple Gentry, Harper Gentry, Vera Gentry, Taryn Bell, Maddox Richardson, Trent Deweese, Sarah Ball, and Graham Thomas, as well as sisters-in-law, Ama Lee Cutshall and Barbara C. Tweed, brothers-in-law, Carl Tweed (Barbara H.), Harry Tweed (Bertha) and many special nieces and nephews and friends.
During his childhood in Madison County, Doward learned how to grow vegetables, hunt, fish and grew into a strong, handsome, self-sufficient young man with both a twinkle in his eye and a solid, “what you see is what you get” manner. He loved the sport of baseball. The 1946 Laurel Catamounts were undefeated partially due to his skill as a catcher and his power when swinging a bat.
Just before shipping off to Korea to fight in the war in 1952, Doward married his childhood friend and neighbor Robena Tweed. Together they raised a family, and Doward completed a distinguished twenty-two year career is the United States Army, earning the rank of Sergeant First Class. He traveled the world visiting many countries, and was stationed in a variety of places including Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, Manheim and Stuttgart, Germany, Aberdeen and Ft. Meade, Maryland. He also served his country by fighting in the Vietnam War.
After retiring from service in 1974, he moved from Maryland to his beloved mountains and settled in Black Mountain, and finally Asheville, NC. He worked for Montreat College, retired from Burlington Industries, and worked for ten years at Caldwell Well Drilling making dear friendships along the way.
Doward enjoyed bowling for “socialization” as he would say, and in his retirement bowled on three leagues faithfully. He continued to grow everything from vegetables to fruit trees. As a child of the Great Depression, he knew the importance of having the ability to grow and preserve his food. He insisted on canning copious amounts of applesauce, and quart after quart of green beans each year, and well as freezing corn and a variety of berries. He hunted for deer and turkey, and fished mountain streams for trout. He worked on his tractor, plowing his garden, mowed his own acreage and drove himself anywhere he wanted to go up until late July when an upset stomach eventually became a cancer diagnosis. It was especially surprising to us all because he was the picture of health and vitality, with the body of a seventy year old in his 90’s. Still, with death approaching, he handled himself the same way he lived his life, with bravery and strength. He relished in the love he felt from his many friends, and of course his beloved family. He was so proud of us. “He was a good man, and larger than life” is the repeated sentiment we have heard from family and friends.
Please join us as we celebrate the life of this special man. Receiving of Friends will be Friday, November 9, 2018 6:00-8:00 pm at West Funeral Home, Weaverville. Funeral to take place Saturday, November 10, 2018 at 11:00 am at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 200 Mount Carmel Rd., Asheville, NC 28806. Burial will follow in Chapel Hill Baptist Church Cemetery, Marshall, with the US Army providing military honors.
Flowers are welcome or please consider making a memorial donation to Mount Carmel Church, 200 Mount Carmel Road, Asheville, NC 28806 or Victory Baptist Church’s Meal Delivery Program, 80 Olivette Road, Asheville, NC 28804.
The family would like to thank the amazing team of doctors and nurses at the VA Hospital, especially the dedicated, caring nurses on 4-West, and well as the Palliative Care team and staff of Valor Hospice.
For those who desire, condolences may be offered to the family under Mr. Gentry’s obituary at www.WestFamilyFuneralServices.com.
West Funeral Home
Friday November 9th, 2018
6:00pm - 8:00pm
17 Merrimon Avenue
Weaverville, NC 28787
Chapel Hill Baptist Church Cemetery
Saturday November 10th, 2018
3737 Chapel Hill Rd.
Marshall, NC 28754
Special Instructions: Follwing the serviceText me the address
Mt. Carmel Baptist Church
Saturday November 10th, 2018
200 Mt Carmel Rd.
Asheville, NC 28806
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Celebrating the life of Doward J. Gentry "DJ"
Thank you for signing Doward J. Gentry "DJ"'s Guestbook
Learned to appreciate Mr.Gentry and his many stories while Jim was in the same room with him at the VA Hospital in Asheville. Your family is in our prayers during this difficult time. Wish we were able to come for the visitation or service but will not be able to get up there. Know all of you will miss his wonderful stories and love for his family. Our sympathy, Jim and Nancy Anderson
Submitted by Nancy ANDERSON on Nov 8 2018 03:21:09 PM
"Windy Storms".....as Doward so lovingly called me throughout my High School years and onward. A strong man, full of laughter and love for his family. I always envied Kim's relationship with her Daddy. All of the family will remain in my prayers and in my thoughts. I hurt so for all his children. I pray God's peace, comfort, and loving presence in you and around you, in Jesus' Name, Amen. Love to all, Wendy
Submitted by Wendy F. Long on Nov 8 2018 03:06:23 PM
I'm 86 and a fellow Madison County resident; living in Spring Creek the first 19 years of my life. Somewhere along the way I met this man. I knew his mother and father. I appreciate the life he lived; it reminded me of my own life. I feel he was a Christian man so I plan to see him again in heaven. Ray Fowler
Submitted by Ray Fowler on Nov 8 2018 12:04:50 PM
I am so sorry for your loss. It was a honor to spend time with DJ during the 4 West stay. I really enjoyed your dad and your wonderful family. Love and prayers going out for y’all.
Submitted by Lesia Houston on Nov 8 2018 07:29:28 AM
I am so sorry of your loss of that sweet Daddy of yours. As I read the tribute about him, I just thought back to the time that he was my neighbor & yes did he ever know how to grow a garden ! Not only for himself , he made sure his neighbors enjoyed the bounty of food he had grown too ! He & Robena was were so special to me! I will be praying for your comfort , peace & strength as you deal with your loss . Just think of what a wonderful time HE & Your Mom are having enjoying Jesus! Love you , Betty Reece Byrd
Submitted by Betty Reece Byrd on Nov 8 2018 01:01:14 AM
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