Linda Lois (Nicholson) Gentry passed away on April 20, 2017. Linda was born Feb. 2, 1940, in Phoenix, Ariz. At age 8, Linda accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior, and she grew in her love and service for Him throughout her life.
When Linda was just 17 (or “almost 18,” as she would always say), she and James Paul Gentry, Jr., were married. Early on, he served aboard a submarine in the U.S. Navy. After his military service, together he and Linda answered the Lord’s call to prepare for the pastorate. Jim graduated from Arizona Bible College in Phoenix, and then Western Baptist Seminary in Portland, Ore., where Linda worked in the seminary library and also helped Jim by typing all of his papers.
Being the pastor’s wife was both challenging and rewarding. A gentle, quiet lady, Linda loved spending time with the Lord, reading and praying. And that love translated into thoughtful service and caring for the needs of others. While she’d have preferred to remain in the background, she mastered her shyness and excelled in serving however needed in the church, and she kept a lovely home and was a gracious hostess. Linda and Jim served at First Baptist in Hemet, Calif., from 1971 to 1974, at First Baptist in Hood River, Ore., from 1974 to 1994, and then at Sisters Community Church in Sisters, Ore., from 1994 to 2001, when Jim retired.
Family relationships were treasured and maintained throughout the generations. In 1996, Linda’s mother Lois moved in with them in Sisters, so, in 2001, all three moved to Hillsboro, Ore. There, Linda became a tireless caregiver, first during Jim’s final fight with cancer and then during her mother’s final illness. Alone for the next 10 years, when it would have been easier to sit back and do as little as possible, Linda continued to serve the Lord. She took time to really listen to others and pray for them, volunteered for Hospice, visited people in nursing homes, and encouraged many by quietly giving them small, simple handmade thank you notes.
A gifted artist, Linda painted beautifully detailed landscape pictures, and also made and sent deeply meaningful cards that were gifts in themselves. She delighted in the beauty of God’s creation, her family, and friends, and often was seen with camera in hand recording what she was enjoying. In March of 2015, Linda moved back to Hood River, where once again she practiced loving and caring for people in yet another new setting. Linda faced her final days with a sweet, calm spirit and total reliance on her Father God who she said, “knows what He is doing.”
Linda is survived by daughters Lorinda and husband Don Hoffman of Hood River, Lorraine and husband Brian Heerwagen of Portland, Ore., and Grace and husband Ron Duckworth of Cornelius, Ore.; grandchildren Andrew and wife Laurie Hoffman and daughters Molly and Kayla, Joanna and husband Anthony Leiter, Lindsey, Lorie and Lacie Heerwagen, and Natalie and Julio Duckworth. Also surviving are brothers Lyle and wife Cecelia Nicholson, and Paul and wife Mary Lois Nicholson, and nieces and nephews Brad and wife Joanna Nicholson, Angela and husband Jason Kobrin and sons Benton and Dalton, Charles and wife Marilee Nicholson and daughter Jocelyn, Jacob and wife Rachel Nicholson, and Amy Nicholson. Linda was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, James Gentry, on Nov. 19, 2003, and by her mother Lois Nicholson on March 9, 2005.
A celebration of life was held on April 23, at Faith Bible Church in Hood River.
A private family graveside service was also held on April 23 at Idlewilde Cemetery.
Memorial gifts: Linda’s desire was that any special giving be directed to a ministry that was very dear to her and to the family. Please make checks payable to DELTA Ministries and put Gentry Memorial Fund on the memo line. Mail to: DELTA Ministries, 1400 NE 136th Ave., Suite 201, Vancouver, WA 98684.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson's Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River.
Visit www. AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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