Life-long Klamath Basin resident, Keith Sylvester Gentry, 96, passed away on Feb. 16, 2020 at Crystal Terrace, Klamath Falls.
Keith was born in Lake Grove, OR, on Oct. 23, 1923. He was the son of Karl D. Gentry and Marie Wainright Gentry.
As an infant, Keith and his parents moved to a homestead his father, a World War I veteran, was awarded as part of the Tulelake Reclamation Project. Keith grew to manhood on that homestead. He could recall the building of the first roads and bridges in the Tulelake area, the introduction of electricity, telephones, and the railroad, farming with horses and antique tractors, and the creation of the town of Tulelake which was designed and built by his parents and their fellow homesteaders. Keith attended elementary school in one of the many one-room schools that dotted the area, often riding his horse to school. He graduated from the original Tulelake High School where he played football and basketball and participated in the band and other extracurricular activities.
Keith attended Oregon State College 1 year. He then enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Company B of the US Marine Corps to serve as a paratrooper during World War II. He fought in 6 Pacific invasions, received the Silver Star for courageous service, and was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
In 1945, Keith married Georgia Liskey, daughter of Swan Lake homesteaders, John and Philomen Liskey. Following their marriage, Keith began a career as a farmer, first on Lower Klamath Lake, then in Malin. In 1960, Keith and Georgia sold their Malin farm, and moved to the outskirts of Klamath, where he worked as a truck driver for various businesses and himself. After his children left home, Keith and Georgia returned to Malin where he started a custom farming business, sold farming equipment, and, in 1985, retired from driving fuel trucks.
In 2004, a year after the death of his first wife, Keith married long-time acquaintance and Merrill native, Helen Hodges Chatburn, daughter of well-known Merrill residents, Bill and Sarah Hodges. Keith and Helen lived in Klamath and enjoyed 8 years together before she passed away at Crystal Terrace in 2012.
Keith was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Patty Gentry Duncan, and his wives Georgia and Helen Gentry. He greatly missed his uncle and aunt Wendell and Aleta Wainright. Keith also mourned the loss of in-laws Jack Liskey, Virgie Hooper Liskey, and Allen B. Duncan, as well as his nephew Allen B. Duncan, Jr (Nancy).
Keith is survived by children Karen Gentry Cochran (Billy) of Maryland, John K. Gentry of Tulelake, and step-daughter Cheryl Chatburn Ross of Klamath Falls. Additionally, he is survived by two grandchildren, Robyn Cochran Moore (John), St. Helens, OR, and Shayne (Mandy) Cochran, MD. Three great-grandchildren survive Keith – Karly and Kole Moore and Ryan Cochran. He is also survived by nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews including Vickie Liskey, Rocky (Karen) Liskey, and Tracey (Sue) Liskey, Lower Klamath; Bernie (Pam) Liskey, Tulelake; Cindy Duncan, Dixon, CA; and Karla Sue Duncan (Kim), Concord, CA; Robert (Kathy) Wainright, San Diego; Mary (Ernie) Wainright Noble, Klamath Falls; and Jane (Dennis) Parker, Chehalis, WA.
Keith will be buried with military honors and graveside services in the Bonanza Cemetery on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 1:00. Those wishing to make contributions are encouraged to donate to the Triad Christian School (2450 Summers Lane, Klamath Falls, OR 97603), where Keith’s military service was honored several times. O’Hair-Wards Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
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