OBITUARY: May Era Gentry

May Era Gentry, 93, of Newton, Kan., passed away, Saturday, July 30, 2022, at Newton Medical Center.

May Era was born Dec. 23, 1928, to Alvan Eugene and Mildred Lenora (Coles) Essary in rural Cleveland County, Okla. May Era was the third of six children.

May Era was raised in rural Cleveland County, Okla. May Era attended Brendle School, graduating from eighth grade in 1942; attended Norman High School, graduating in 1946; attended Oklahoma University, graduating with a bachelor of science in education degree in 1967, and a master of library science degree in 1968.

May Era Essary married Robert A Gentry on June 11, 1948, at the Gentry family home in Pottawatomie County. They made their home in Tecumseh, Okla., where May Era was a wife and homemaker. In 1954, they purchased a trailer house and lived in several different towns in Oklahoma. In 1960, they were able to move to a house in Norman, Okla., where they lived until they moved back to Tecumseh, Okla., in 1994. May worked for the Norman Public Schools as a first-grade teacher at Jackson Elementary School for 20 years.

May was a charter member of the Tecumseh First Assembly of God Church and while in Norman a member of the Norman New Hope Assembly of God Church. She was a Sunday School secretary and helped with vacation Bible schools. May loved reading and would always have a variety of things to read. May enjoyed sewing and crocheting. She made dresses for her daughter and shirts for her son. She made several quilts and loved making all four grandchildren a quilt when they graduated from high school. May crocheted doilies and afghans. She made afghans for all four grandchildren when they graduated from college with master’s degrees. May and her daughter were working on afghans for her great-grandchildren when she passed. May enjoyed working in her yard. May loved eagles and really enjoyed seeing eagles flying over the Platte River in Nebraska on one of her visits. May was very pleased that all three grandsons joined the Boy Scouts of America and all achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. May has several collections she enjoyed, including, eagle pictures, eagle plates, eagle figurines, bells, angels, nativities, music boxes, Hummel figurines and mice figurines.

May Era was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert (Bobby) A Gentry; son, Paul William Gentry; two sisters, Alberta Lee Rider and Esther Essary; and two brothers, Dale Essary and James Donald Essary.

May is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Marvella and Charlie James, Sr., of Newton, Kan.; four grandchildren, Charlie Jr. and wife, Becky Lynn James, of Pinckney, Mich., Becky and husband, John Liston, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tim James, of Olathe, Kan., and Ron and wife, Aja James, of Humboldt, Kan.; eight great-grandchildren, Amanda and husband, Joe Clanton, Bridgette and husband, Matt Watson, and Tony and wife, Sydney Liston, all of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Logan James and Alivia James, both of Burlington, Kan., Taevyn Baylor, Brylee Napier, and Tylan Baylor all of Humboldt, Kan.; eight great-great-grandchildren, Audrey Clanton, Gracelynn Clanton, Ella Watson, and Andi Watson, John Watson, Brooks Liston, Beckham Liston, and Banks Liston, all of Council Bluffs, Iowa; one sister, Lou Ann Parson, of Eureka Springs, Ark.; one sister-in-law, Beverly Essary, of Norman, Okla.; and a host of nieces, nephews, and extended family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, the family has designated Tecumseh First Assembly of God Transformation Fund or Newton, Kan., Meals on Wheels for memorials.

Graveside Committal service at Tecumseh Cemetery will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13. Celebration of Life service at Tecumseh First Assembly of God with Reverend Don Jonker officiating and Reverend Chad Brodrick assisting will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of both funeral homes:

  • Petersen Funeral Home, 215 N. Main St., Newton, KS, 67114. To share memories or to sign the guest book online, go to
  • Cooper Funeral Home, 210 W. Walnut , Tecumseh, OK, 74873. To share memories or to sign the guest book online, go to
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