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Paul William Gentry

September 27, 1951 - June 3, 1972

The Norman Transcript

A 20 year old Norman man drowned in Lake Thunderbird Saturday, shortly before noon. Paul William Gentry, who was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City where he was serving an enlistment, drowned while swimming near beach No. 1 at the lake.

Gentry, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Gentry, 1516 Sunset Dr., was on an outing with his wife, Kathy Jo, when the drowning occurred. The couple had been married for about three months.

Divers from the Norman Fire Department began searching for the man about noon, after lake lifeguards failed to locate him near the area where he disappeared from the surface. Fire Department divers found the body near the beach area at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

A lifeguard at swimming beach no. 1 said Gentry was floating in the water near the barrel markers of the swimming area when the incident occurred. She said the water was between 30 and 40 feet deep in that area.

"I don't know what happened to him," she said. "It happened very suddenly. He turned around as if he were swimming toward the shore, when he started waving his arms and went under."

The lifeguard said she saw another lifeguard already in the water swimming toward Gentry, so she turned and ran back for a life buoy. "When I reached him" she said, "the other lifeguard had already started diving for him."

The two lifeguards said they dove under several times, but could not find the man. Two fishermen near the area joined the lifeguards in their unsuccessful efforts to find the man. A registered nurse at the lake apparently called the park rangers and lake patrol, the lifeguard said.

Services for Gentry are pending with Primrose Funeral Home.

The Norman Transcript

Services for Sgt. Paul William Gentry, 20, who was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, will be at 2 p.m., Tuesday in the New Hope Assembly of God Church. Burial will be in Tecumseh Cemetery directed by Primrose Funeral Home.

Sgt. Gentry, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Gentry, 1516 Sunset Dr., drowned Saturday in Lake Thunderbird.

Other survivors are his wife, Kathy Jo, of the home in Oklahoma City; a sister, Mrs. Charles (Marvella Kay) James, Fort Worth, and grandparents, Mrs. Mildred L. Essary and William A. Gentry, both of Tecumseh.

Bearers will be Leon Street, Don Houck, George Smith, Eldon Englebretson, Bill Cumming and Greg Davis.

Burial: Tecumseh Cemetery

Sharing Memories of Paul William Gentry
e-mail to John Coley


NHS 1969 Deceased

Frames made by: Whispering Owl Designs

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