William M. "Bill" Gentry, 82, of Ada suddenly went home to be with his Lord and Savior on July 15, 2017. Services are at 11 a.m. Thursday at Ada First Baptist Church. The Rev. Jerry Wells will officiate. Burial will follow at the Flower Mound Cemetery, 2805 SE Flower Mound Road, Lawton.
The family will receive friends from 5 until 7 p.m. Wednesday at Criswell Funeral Home, Ada.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce, of Ada and son Tim Gentry and his wife, Mary, of Oklahoma City.
Bill was born Nov. 13, 1934, in Altus, one week after his father, Roy Dee Gentry, was killed in the family home by an intruder. His mother, Ida Robbins Gentry and his 2-year-old sister, Jean, were able to escape through a bedroom window to get help from neighbors. By the time authorities arrived, the man had escaped and Mr. Gentry was deceased. The assailant was captured in a few days and was convicted of the murder.
Mrs. Gentry and her children moved in with her parents and siblings who lived in the Altus area. As Mr. Gentry's family also lived nearby, Bill grew up with many family members to assist in raising the fine man that he became. When Bill was in grade school, his mother married Bill Wise and two more children were born.
During this time in Altus, he gave his life to Jesus while attending the Tabernacle Baptist Church.
Bill was very industrious and started delivering newspapers at a young age, followed by sacking groceries in the local supermarket. When he was in his sophomore year of high school, the family moved to Lawton, and Bill soon found employment in the locally owned Hillis Grocery.
He graduated from Lawton High School in 1952 and married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Allison, on Sept. 4, 1953. They would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this September. They welcomed two boys, Steve and Tim, while living in Lawton. He served eight years in the U. S. Army Reserve.
Though Bill did not attend college, it did not keep him from being able to find a job. He attributes that to the Lord's guidance and blessings. A national loan company opened an office in Lawton, and they told him they would give him an education. He rose to be the branch manager, and this experience opened the door to banking. He was offered a position as vice president at Founders Bank, which was opening in Oklahoma City in 1964. In 1972 he accepted the position as president of Citizens Bank of Ada and retired as CEO in 2004.
During this time Bill was very active in his church, Ada First Baptist, where he was a deacon and served on many committees. He was president of the Ada Chamber of Commerce and was on several state boards such as Oklahoma Bankers Association, State Banking Department, Oklahoma Heritage Association and the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce. His high school distributive education teacher instilled in Bill a good work ethic by teaching him to never refuse responsibility, and it served him well.
Bill loved the Lord and enjoyed his Sunday school class taught by Rev. Wells. Each year Bill read through the Bible. He enjoyed traveling, reading and walking and supported and pulled for the Sooners.
Also surviving Bill are his grandchildren, who have been such a blessing to him, Rachel Gentry Denbow and her husband, Brett, of Springfield, Missouri, and Joseph Marion Gentry and his wife, Melaney, of Fresno, California. He was privileged to have three great-grandchildren, Sebastian, Ruby and Smith Denbow, all of Springfield.
Also surviving him are his sister, Dorothy Wise Whitworth, New Boston, Michigan, and his brother, Larry Wise and his wife, Deborah, of Spring, Texas, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and Joyce's relatives.
He was preceded in death by his son, Steve; his sister, Jean Sikes; his father; his mother and stepfather; grandparents; aunts; uncles; cousins; a sister-in-law; and two brothers-in-law.
In lieu of flowers the family asks those who wish may make memorials to the Ada First Baptist Church Building Fund, the Oklahoma Jail and Prison Ministries, PO Box 1252, Oklahoma City, OK 73101 or the charity of your choice.
Published on July 17, 2017