Dr. John Billy Gentry, 89, of Shelby, N.C., passed away January 26, 2024. Son of the late John William Gentry and Sarah Ella Brooks Gentry, Bill was born in Statesville on September 25, 1934. A true Renaissance man, he was not only a brilliant and dedicated physician—a board-certified pathologist in Shelby and Kings Mountain for 54 years—he was also a gifted artist; an accomplished singer, with a beautiful baritone voice, often singing favorite classical songs and hymns; and a softball slugger, batting cleanup for Kings Mountain Hospital’s team.

A lifelong learner, he first attended Mitchell Community College where he met his future wife, Bernice, and where he would return to serve several terms as president of the alumni association. After graduating from Mitchell, he attended Davidson College on an academic scholarship (B.S., 1955) and later graduated from UNC’s School of Medicine with honors (1959). Consistently generous towards others yet ever frugal himself, he was exceptionally humble, courteous, and patient. Fond of literary classics, he could recite many favorite passages by heart, including the prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in Middle English. A history buff with a phenomenal memory, he could effortlessly recall many obscure details, making him a great asset on family trivia night. A Marine who served his country, he became a Red Cross volunteer, serving his community. Successful and talented in so many ways, his truly great pride and happiness stemmed from his lifelong passion: family. A nature lover, nothing gave him greater pleasure than spending time on his land with his loved ones, including his beloved dogs.

He was predeceased by his loving wife, Vera Bernice Troutman Gentry; an infant son, John Mark Gentry of Shelby; sisters, Lois Mackey (m. to Robert Mackey) and Rachel Scott (m. to Glen Scott), and brother, Charles Gentry of Statesville.

He is survived by daughters, Mary Troutman Gentry Cook (m. to Harrel Cook) of Shelby, and Margaret Anne Gentry Neff (m. to Brad Neff) of Charlotte; sister, Marie Hinson (m. to Tommy Hinson) of East Bend; grandchildren, Annie Kee (m. to Louis Kee), Emily Huffstetler (m. to Jason Huffstetler), Kristina Cook of Shelby, Victoria Neff of Charlotte, and Jonathan Neff (m. to Roshny Vijayakar) of Las Cruces, N.M. great-grandchildren, Serenity and Simon Kee, and Lydia Canipe, Kinley, Brynne, Owen, and Isaac Huffstetler of Shelby; and many cherished nieces and nephews.

Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday, January 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Troutman Funeral Home.

Funeral Service will be held Wednesday, January, 31, at 2 p.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Troutman with interment immediately following at Troutman Family Cemetery.

Troutman Funeral Home is serving the family.