Posted on May 3, 2024 Margaret Gentry, IM DR Congo Alumna Called Home
Margaret Gentry, IM DR Congo Alumna Called Home

Margaret Gentry, International Ministries DR Congo Alumna, Called Home

Margaret (Marge) Ann (Crowley) Gentry has gone safely home to her eternal home, at the age of 83, on April 1, 2024.

Marge was born in Spokane, WA on June 7, 1940 to Ward Cowley and Lucile Veatch Crowley. Marge was raised on the family farm in Deer Park, WA.  The farm continued to be her place of retreat and comfort throughout her life.

In 1957, the family moved to Moscow, Idaho where her father took a job at the University of Idaho. After finishing high school, she went on to study at the University of Idaho, getting a degree in Medical Bacteriology.

During Marge’s first year at the University of Idaho, she met Gene Gentry. He took Marge with him to Grace Baptist Church every Sunday and it wasn’t long before Marge began to feel a part of the group and to enter into deep personal relationships with committed Christians. Marge wrote about that year: “It was during this year that I really understood for the first time the extent of God’s love. I committed myself to become a follower of Jesus Christ and was baptized.”

Marge and Gene were married on June 11, 1960. Marge worked as a keypunch operator while training as a medical technologist. Gene was intensely interested in missions and was studying at California Baptist Theological Seminary. They were a part of the First Baptist Church in Covina, CA.

On January 27th, 1969, Marge and Gene were appointed by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS) to serve as missionaries in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).

Marge found her true calling in the Congo. She was always willing to initiate new endeavors working as a lab technician, an accountant, a radio operator and a storekeeper selling subsidized commodities and seeds for gardens.  She helped develop a garden and small animal project to improve the food security for the Congolese.  At one time she taught at the American School of Vanga-Milundu in the mornings, spent the afternoons at the hospital and, time permitting, she worked with her small animal projects. She also continued to train the Congolese people to work in bacteriology.  While bookkeeping she trained her Congolese counterparts so they would eventually be able to take over her work.  Her faith during these times was instrumental in her children’s lives and her compassion and faith led her to adopt her youngest son, Jordan.

Marge and Gene spent 20 years serving in the Congo. Upon political unrest in the early 1990’s they were evacuated from Zaire and returned to Deer Park, WA.  In 1993, the Gentry’s were reassigned to serve in Haiti. They spent four years in Haiti where Marge taught English and developed the computer program at Northern Haiti Christian University.

Throughout the years, Marge enjoyed many different jobs and hobbies working as a lab tech, punch-card operator, accountant, real-estate agent, farmer, and well-loved missionary wife and mother. Throughout her years, she would often fish for breakfast with her children. When she set out to do crafts, she would master the chosen craft– painting, quilting, cross-stitch, knitting—to the extent that other crafters sought her out for advice. She gifted and sold banners to several churches, and many of her children and grandchildren have quilts designed especially for them. Early in life, she learned to play the piano and accordion and blessed the church and family with her music.

Upon retirement Marge stayed busy with her friends, going to movies and playing games.  She was very involved in playing water volleyball with her YMCA friends. Her connections at the Open Door Church were especially cherished.

She is preceded in death by her parents and her sister Marikay (Dave) Devereaux.

She is survived by her husband of 64 years, Gene;  her sisters  Kathleen Baker and Jean (Don) Marshall; her brother Tom (Polly) Crowley,  and her five children – Janeen (Ben) Graham, Suella (Bill) Koontz,  Wayne (Bella) Gentry, Steve (April) Gentry, and Jordan Gentry; her children of her heart Dioni (Rachel) Victoran and Mbongo Gentry; her 11 grandchildren Brolin, Ember, Neriah, Jorin, Aaron, Alex, Bethany, Christopher, Shalani, Nikisa, Lizinyani, and multiple great grandchildren.

A memorial service celebrating Marge’s life was held on April 6th at the Open Door Church in Deer Park, WA.