Meredith (Shirley Ruth) McLean Gentry
Born October 30th, 1943 in Kirkwood, MO
Died June 4th, 2021 in Tulsa, OK
Parents: Dr. Royal C. McLean and Marguerite (Holdsworth) McLean
Meredith was born after a Halloween party from which her parents had to leave early. Meredith grew into a persistent and determined young lady. During her treatment for breast cancer in 1989, her late husband prominently displayed a picture of a tenacious looking Meredith at age 6 for inspiration. Having grown up in a loving home where emphasis was given to service and politeness, it is no surprise that in her last week of life when nurses asked whether she was in pain, she whispered, "not really", even as her soul was looking to heaven and her body was in clear agony. While not everyone of her generation acts this way, Meredith spoke and lived an understated and impactful life.
Meredith and her sister, Marilyn, were extremely close. The typical fighting of sisters growing up together stopped one day when a squabble over a cat calendar resulted in one of them falling into a full-length mirror. With glass everywhere and many cuts to stitch, the two sisters chose to stop the fighting, remaining close the rest of their lives.
Meredith enjoyed taking medical missionary trips with her physician father to the Navajo reservation. She also enjoyed fishing, golfing, and spending time on the water with her dad. On occasion Meredith, would tag along with her dad as he made house calls. She recalled many stories from these experiences that informed what it meant to serve Christ for her and her family.
In high school Meredith played clarinet in the Kirkwood High School marching band and enjoyed a variety of sports. Meredith received advanced degrees from the University of Kansas Medical Center (Kansas City) in medical records and physical therapy. She also attended Loma Linda University (CA), Washington University (MO) and Oral Roberts University. Meredith served as a physical therapist at Desloge Hospital in St. Louis.
No one, including herself, would call her cutting edge; however, in 1971 she entered the world of computer dating. She met her soon to be husband, Philip Michael Gentry of Shawnee, OK, by answering an ad for a "punch card" computer Christian dating service based in Kansas City. After many train trips and letters, they married on September 15th, 1973, which was an away game for Oklahoma football (Mike's choice). They lived in Norman, OK the majority of their married life in the same house, raising their son, Ron, and often opening their home for church small group meetings. Meredith and Mike taught a single adult Sunday School group for over a decade.
In addition to playing the piano, crocheting, and knitting, Meredith enjoyed taking epic road trips with her family, while taking more extensive trips with Mike later in life. In Norman, Meredith volunteered at McKinley elementary school, First Baptist Church, Northeast Baptist Church, American Cancer Society, and Reach to Recovery. Attending university activities and lectures were a major part of her life.
Always thoughtful, Meredith knew how much a helping hand or note meant to friends, neighbors, and strangers.
In 2014 Meredith moved to a retirement community in Tulsa, OK to be closer to family. Here she enjoyed meeting new people, establishing new church relationships, and staying physically active, often against the well meaning advice of friends. Her determination to live the best life she could continued to her last day of life, including her love of St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
Meredith is preceded in death by husband Mike Gentry of Norman, OK; sister Marilyn Hopkins of Shoreline, WA; survived by brother-in-law Jim Hopkins.
Survived by son, Ron Gentry, granddaughter, Zoey Gentry, and daughter-in-law, Beth Gentry of Broken Arrow, OK; nephew Randall Hopkins (wife, Amy) and their children McLean, Annabelle, and Zachary; nephew Jordan Hopkins (wife, Crystal) and their children Maisie and Sammy (all of Seattle, WA).
Rather than flowers, send memorial gifts to the Tulsa Wesley Foundation campus ministry memorial fund and/or the Tulsa chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
Visitation with the family is scheduled at Moore Funeral & Cremation on Wednesday, July 7th (4-8PM), with a private graveside service.
A celebration service will be held at Ranch Acres Baptist Church in Tulsa, OK on Saturday, July 10th at 10am with a remote viewing option.
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