Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The following tribute is an excerpt from “MOTHER & DADDY” by Jean Gentry Beam.  This wonderful and loving memory booklet was written as a Christmas gift to her family in 1976.
     “Thomas Hasten Gentry, born March 1, 1891 was my grandfather.  He owned and operated flour mills in the Woodsdale and Chub Lake communities [NC].  His first wife was Pearl Strange.  They had two sons; my father, Charlie Floyd, and one other son who died as a child.  Granddaddy married a second wife, Minnie Howerton.  Four children were born, Raymond, Clarie, Lucille and Lambeth.  This wife died leaving the five little children.  His third wife is Virgie Regan, born October 24, 1901, mother to these five and the only grandmother we have ever had.
     The memory of Thomas Hasten Gentry is that of a quiet man – never much at talking, yet always thinking and perhaps worrying a bit more than he should.  He loved his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  A special gleam would show in his eyes as he handed out those tiny bags of goodies from his store.  He started in the grocery business after the flour mills closed down.
     He loved to fish.  Sitting for hours by the pond bank gave him more time to think.  Some of us grandchildren enjoyed an occasional fishing trip with him.  And one day on a very special fishing trip, I remember he lighted the paper thin bark of a Birch tree.  Patsy was very frightened.  He enjoyed the harmless joke, but became concerned about Patsy’s fears.
     He was a farmer, too.  I remember the corn fields in the yard of the Woodsdale house.
     His first flour mill was at Woodsdale, NC, in 1929.  This mill was powered by a Diesel Engine.
     In 1930, he bought the flour mill at Chub Lake.  After the mill businesses, he operated Buchanan’s Store and lived in the School House at Woodsdale.  Later he ran a store at Chub Lake.  After closing this store, he opened the present store which Grammie still runs.  They lived in the neat house beside the grocery store.  Grandmother, or Grammie, as the great-grandchildren call her, still lives in this immaculate white house and faithfully attends to all the work of home and store.
     Thomas Hasten was very proud of his children and in his later years was carefully looked after by the oldest son, Charlie, who loved him equally in return.  The other four children had moved away from their native state and have families of their own.
     I remember how proud he was of letters from any of his children or any news about each of them.  And when they would come for a visit, he talked of these visits for a long time following.
     Grandmother looked after him and his needs very carefully – trying to help him eat the right foods, and to get enough rest.  I think the fishing trips afforded “rest and a time away” for this introspective man.
     He died on April 22, 1966 at the age of seventy-five.”