A long standing icon of the King community will soon be celebrating a major milestone.
On Oct. 6, Mary Etta Gentry will celebrate her hundredth birthday, capping off a century of service to the area.
Gentry graduated from R.J. Reynolds High School in 1933 with the ambition of becoming a teacher. She followed that dream, earning an education diploma from Appalachian State Teachers College in 1935 before starting her career teaching first grade at King School in 1935.
In 1939 she married her husband, R. Holton Gentry and the couple had their first child, Hughes Gentry, in 1942, followed by Mary Ann Gentry in 1944 and Joseph G. Gentry in 1951.
The family joined the King Moravian Church in 1946.
Gentry was recognized for her excellent parenting in 1973 when she was named Stokes County Mother of the Year. The following year she was named Teacher of the Year at King Primary School and in 1975 the King School Annual was dedicated to her. She retired from teaching in 1976.
Gentry has also been nominated for the Jefferson Award for Extraordinary Public Service and was named King Woman of the Year for 1998-1999.
Since retiring she has continued to teach Sunday school and has volunteered with King Outreach Ministries since it opened.
She has four grandchildren, Geoff Gentry, Beth gentry, Jennifer Shields, and Cliff Gentry.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.