Jimmy Gentry

Jimmy Gentry

Jimmy Gentry, a lifelong resident of Williamson County and a World War II veteran who fought on the European front and in the Battle of the Bulge, died Thursday morning after recent poor health.

He was 96.

Mr. Gentry, known by many as “Coach” for his years of coaching football at Battle Ground Academy, Brentwood Academy and Franklin High School, owned Gentry Farm on New Highway 96 West in Franklin. It has been a popular destination for countless families and students from schools around middle Tennessee.

In later years, Mr. Gentry began telling about his experiences in World War II, notably his involvement in helping to liberate Holocaust victims from the Dachau concentration camp in 1945 with the 42nd Infantry Division. 

One of the men freed was Oleks Rudenko, a Ukranian teen taken by the Nazis at the time. Mr. Gentry and Rudenko met for the first time a number of years ago in Franklin, on the anniversary of D-Day. 

It was that meeting that led to more public talks in which Mr. Gentry told his stories of entering the Army after graduating from Franklin High School and taking part in several battles in Western Europe during World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Zebulon and Gertrude Gentry, his wife, Rebecca Channell Gentry, and his son James Cannon Gentry, Jr. He is survived by sons Allen (Cindy) Gentry, Scott (Melanie) Gentry, beloved friend Barbara Hendrix, grandchildren Jase Gentry, Mary Morgan Gentry (Charles Hatcher), Hope Gentry Miller (Hunter), Laura Gentry Defatta (David), John Gentry (Megan), great-grandchildren Mary Bennett and Ady Defatta, Henley, River and Fisher Gentry, Josie Miller and Cannon Hatcher. 

A funeral service will be conducted 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, at Fourth Avenue Church of Christ located at 117 Fourth Ave. N., in Franklin. Visitation will be held Monday from 4-7 p.m. and one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the church.  

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Franktown Open Hearts https://franktownopenhearts.com/donate/ WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, 615-794-2289. www.williamsonmemorial.com