Mary Elizabeth Gentges, a long-time resident of St. Marys, died here, at the Community Hospital on March 12, 2017. She had recently been diagnosed with terminal Cancer.
The only child of Charles R. Gentges and Florence E. Schwartz Gentges, Mary was born on October 14, 1947 in her parents’ home town of Farmington Mo. and baptized at St. Joseph Church. She received the nickname “Bitzi” and her relatives called her that throughout her life. In 1951 her family moved to Fayette Mo. and began owning and running a succession of variety stores in Sedalia and Warrensburg Mo. and in Broomfield and Windsor Colorado. Mary graduated from High School as the class Valedictorian while assisting her parents with their store. When her parents retired in 1982, Mary moved to St. Marys Kansas to attend college. After graduation she remained on campus teaching classes and working as a writer, photographer and editor for the St. Mary’s Magazine. Within a few years, her parents joined her in St. Marys and they lived in homes, side by side.
After Mary left her employment at the college, she supported herself by teaching piano lessons and managing a successful eBay business selling beautiful hand-made rosaries, scapulars, medals and other religious items, all over the world. She also sold hand-crafted jewelry, collectibles and antiques. She acquired several rental properties and took pride in maintaining them for her tenants. She also wrote interesting feature stories for the Angelus Magazine and the local newspaper. Through it all, she faithfully cared for her elderly parents until they died of age related causes.
After retiring as a piano teacher, Mary returned to her life-long loves, painting and writing. She was in the midst of researching a book-length memoir of WW II, based on a collection of her parent’s diaries, letters and her father’s dictated memories, when she unexpectedly fell ill.
Mary is survived by numerous cousins and dear friends who lovingly supported her during her brief but intense illness. She also left two cats: Bootsie and Shadow, who provided her with companionship, amusement and comfort.
Mary will lie in state at Piper Funeral Home on Tuesday, March 21st from 1:00 until 4:00 P.M. A rosary will be recited at 7:00 P.M. Tuesday at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Maple Hill. A Requiem Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 1:30 P.M Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at the church Burial will follow at the family plot at Mt. Calvary cemetery, St. Marys. Mary requested that Masses be offered for the repose of her soul. Memorials may be made to St. John Vianney Latin Mass Community, 14623 Waterman Crossing Road, Maple Hill KS 66507. Piper Funeral Home, 714 Maple St., St. Marys is in charge of arrangements.