Dr. William D. Gentry Jr., 82, doctor delivered 5,000 babies in his career

December 18, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Dr. William D. Gentry Jr., a retired obstetrician who delivered 5,000 babies during a long career in Baltimore medicine, died in his sleep Monday at Catered Living in Cockeysville. A resident of Freeland in northern Baltimore County, he was 82 and had suffered from Alzheimer's disease.

Born in Baltimore and raised in North Baltimore, he attended Blessed Sacrament Parochial School and was a 1940 Polytechnic Institute graduate. He attended Loyola College and after two years of study transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park and then received a degree from the School of Medicine. He was a resident at Mercy Medical Center and the old Hospital for the Women of Maryland in Bolton Hill.

He headed the obstetrics and gynecology department at the Langley Air Force Base hospital in Langley, Va.

He then established a medical practice in Baltimore and had offices in the Cambridge Arms apartments in Charles Village, the Medical Arts Building in Mount Vernon and Ruxton Towers in Towson. He was also an instructor in gynecology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and what is now Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

In more than four decades in practice, he was on the staffs of what are now St. Agnes HealthCare, Mercy Medical Center, St. Joseph Medical Center and Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He retired in 1987.

"He recalled having delivered all those babies," said his brother James O'Conor Gentry of Towson. "He was a considerate, kind, caring and helpful person."

Patients recalled Dr. Gentry's reassuring, unflappable manner.

"He was a soft-spoken man," said Camilla Meiser, a retired nurse whose three daughters were delivered by Dr. Gentry. "He brought a sense of calm with him. He would come into the hospital room and sit on the window sill, quietly talking to you during the later stages of labor."

Dr. Gentry also reconstructed an 1817 Baltimore County farmhouse. He enjoyed woodworking and carpentry and built small pieces of furniture. When his children took up riding, he rode with them and participated in jousting tournaments. He also sailed the Chesapeake Bay and read.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday at the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, 13717 Cuba Road, Hunt Valley.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Edith Shallenberger, headmistress and founder of the Cedarcroft School; two sons, Peter Couturier Gentry of Tampa, Fla., and William Daniel Gentry IV of Oakland, Calif.; a daughter, Galvin Moore Gentry of Freeland; another brother, Robert Joseph Gentry of Harrisburg, Pa.; three sisters, Sister Melmarie Gentry and Sister Doris Anne Gentry, both of Baltimore, and Levelle Gentry Smith of Towson; and six grandchildren.

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