John Ralph “Pop” Gentry, Jr. entered into eternal rest on November 28, 2020.
Known as “Pop” to his family and friends, John was 96 years old and born in Winston Salem, N.C. on August 3rd, 1924 to John Ralph Gentry and Martha Parker Gentry.
Pop proudly served in the United State Navy during WWII as a Radioman nicknamed “Sparky” on the Destroyer/Minesweeper, USS Dorsey DMS-1, in the Pacific Theater. Pop joined the war right after Guadalcanal and his Minesweeper was the initial part of many of the most important US invasions, including Iwo Jima, Leyte and Okinawa. Ironically, even though Pop was trapped inside his radio room for hours after a successful kamikaze attack during the battle of Okinawa, his ship was sunk later that summer by a Typhoon while at anchor in the harbor.
After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Pop worked in Charlotte, NC as a driver for Atlantic Greyhound Lines and had a small trucking company with his brother, Paul. Pop loved taking groups on bus tours all over the country and was even spontaneously invited by a group of ladies he had driven to Miami to continue with them to Cuba (via plane, of course.) Pop was a natural conversationalist and quick to engage others and was always entertaining with funny stories and anecdotes. His wit and easy manner endeared him to all he met on his daily adventures around town in his beloved Mini Cooper or pickup truck. It is of note that Pop was able to qualify for and keep his Commercial Drivers License until his late 80’s and, amazingly, had no accidents or tickets his entire driving career.
He met and married the love of his life, Sara Kirkley, and moved to Moncks Corner in 1960 and had a successful career with Standard Trucking Company as the Charleston terminal manager. Pop loved living in the Low Country with all its wonderful outdoor activities. Pop enjoyed fishing, hunting, Atlanta Braves baseball, NASCAR, coffee with friends at Howard’s restaurant, cooking BBQ on his professional grill and the First Baptist Church. Pop and his close group of friends were the first generation to fish offshore out of Charleston. Pop was an avid fisherman and won the 1st Governors Cup in 1968 along with many other local & regional tournaments. He loved fishing so much he even fished off the back of his Destroyer during the war. Pop spent many of his retirement years at the ballfields cheering on his grandsons.
Pop was a proud member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Freemasons and Shriners.
Predeceasing Pop was his wife, Sara Kirkley Gentry, his brother, Paul Gentry and his sister, Juanita Gentry Willey.
Surviving Pop are his children, John Ralph Gentry III (Tamara), Susan Gay Gentry, Lisa Gentry Cook (Terrell.) Also surviving Pop are his grandchildren, John Ralph Gentry IV and Jason Avrin Gentry (Melissa), Travis Gentry (Lacey), Parker Cook, Ashley Betts (Thomas) and Justin Mathis as well as 7 great-grandchildren and countless friends.
Family, friends and neighbors are invited to attend a visitation followed by a memorial service on Wednesday, December 2nd at 12:00pm at Moncks Corner First Baptist Church. Interment immediately following, at St. Johns Baptist Church in Pinopolis, directed by Russell Funeral Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to: Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20077-7677.
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