Howard B. Gentle, Jr., 74, of Doniphan, MO, passed away Sunday February 8, 2015, at South East Health Center in Doniphan.
Mr. Gentle was born February 22, 1940 in St. Louis, MO. On March 5, 1958, he and Laveta Klocke were married in Edina, Missouri, she preceded him in death on September 24, 2013. On April 4, 2014, he married Barbara Wynn in Grandin, Missouri, she survives of the home.
A Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army, Howard retired in 1984 after serving over 20 years. He was a Master Army Aviator who completed two years of combat duty in the Republic of Vietnam. He flew over 1,000 hours of combat during his Vietnam service. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross the Bronze Star, eighteen Air Medals, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal.
After his Army retirement, Howard was a Missouri State Social Service Worker for 16 years, employed at the Ripley County Division of Family Services Office. He was a child abuse and neglect investigator, and also trained and certified Missouri foster and adoptive families and placed children in their homes. He taught the Poplar Bluff First Baptist Church Searchers Sunday school class for over twenty years, where he was a member.
Howard loved his family, church family and friends. He continued to fly his own airplane during retirement and enjoyed gardening, writing and travel.
Survivors include his five children: Laveta Ann Gibson (Mike) of Columbia SC, Lorene McQuin (Scott) of Wellington, KS, Douglas Gentle (Donna) of Waynesville, MO, Richard Gentle (Patty) of Columbia, SC and Laura Kaye DeLuca (Dan) of Arlington, VA; eleven grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Laveta Gentle, mother Velma S. Jones McMurry, father, Howard B. Gentle, Sr., a brother, Richard L. Gentle, and a sister, Sharon Harding.
Visitation will be from Wednesday, from 1-2 p.m. at Cotrell Funeral Chapel in Poplar Bluff. Funeral services will begin at 2 p.m. with Dr. William Vail officiating. Interment will be at Missouri State Veterans Cemetery at 3 p.m.
Memorials may be made to Christian Life Center at First Baptist Church or the Gideon’s Bible Ministry.