CENTRALIA — Harold Lee Gentz, 88, of Centralia, formerly of Aviston, and Sesser, passed away at 1:25 a.m. Thursday, December 14, 2017, at home with his family by his side.
Mr. Gentz was born on June 18, 1929 in DuQuoin, Illinois, the son of the late Paul and Nora (Hamilton) Gentz. He married Christina June “Patsy” Nickoloff on August 17, 1954 in West Frankfort, Illinois and she survives him in Centralia.
In addition to his loving wife of 63 years, Mr. Gentz is survived by his son, Eric Gentz of New Baden, Illinois; daughter, Vickie Gentz and Tommy Williams of Centralia; grandchildren, Cambryn Baker and husband Charles, Kelly Watson and husband Issac, Haley Gentz and husband Dathan, Eric Gentz II and wife Kayla and Erin Pettus and husband Cameron; great-grandchildren, Cole Gentz, Justyce Baker, Samiyah Watson, Issac Watson, Adrian Watson, Kyson Gentz, Aurora Orrill, Cambell Pettus and Tripp Gentz and several nieces and nephews.
Mr. Gentz was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Christina “Tina” Gentz; daughter-in-law, Tammy Gentz; great-granddaughter, Laneigha Watson and sister, Pauline Eisenhauer.
Mr. Gentz was of the Catholic faith. He was a member of St. Francis Catholic Church in Aviston, where he was a member of the church choir. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving his country during the Korean Conflict. He was a clerk stationed at an Air Force Base in Newfoundland. He enjoyed making rugs out of burlap sacks with each having his own design on it. He cherished the time he spent with his family, especially his children and grandchildren.
Mr. Gentz was chairman of the Clinton County Bicentennial Commission membership who voted and set-up the Clinton County Historical Society that was organized in 1976. He was the first president of the historical society. In 1985, he was active in efforts to raise money to purchase the Sidney Breese Home in Carlyle to house the Clinton County Historical Society Museum. As a result of his love for history, he restored monuments in Lake Branch Cemetery, an old Civil War Cemetery outside of Aviston.
Mr. Gentz was an American History and English Teacher who taught at Breese Central High School from 1974 to 1995 and Aviston Community High School from 1958 to 1974. He graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale with a Master’s Degree in History and a Bachelor’s Degree in English. Mr. Gentz was an antique dealer for many years. He was also a quilt dealer who pieced them together and sold the completed quilt to a dealer in New York. He lived in Centralia for the last two years and previously lived in Avistion and Sesser.
Celebration of Life Services for Mr. Harold Lee Gentz will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, December 18, 2017, at Moran Queen-Boggs Funeral Home in Centralia, with Reverend Ronald Johnson and Deacon John Hempen officiating. Interment will follow in Bone Gap Cemetery in Bone Gap, Illinois with Military Honors accorded by Albion American Legion Post 590 and V.F.W. Post 8220.
Friends may visit with Mr. Gentz’s family from 4 p.m.to 7p.m. Sunday, December 17, 2017, at Moran Queen-Boggs Funeral Home and from 9 a.m. until the time of services at 11 a.m. Monday, December 18, 2017, at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Gentz’s memory to the Clinton County Historical Society in Carlyle, and will be received by the Moran Queen-Boggs Funeral Home.
Please view the online obituary, send condolences or share memories with Mr. Gentz’s family at moranfuneralhome.net or on the funeral home’s Facebook page.