Florentina (Flo) Estrella Gentry, 86, of Harrisburg, PA, went home to be with the Lord on April 6, 2023. She passed away peacefully at home while holding the hands of her loved ones.
A true New Yorker, Flo was born in The Big Apple on Sunday, August 16, 1936 in a much different world, free of computers, television, and commuter traffic. Her family moved to Pennsylvania when she was a young girl, and she eventually made Harrisburg, PA her permanent home. As the Matriarch of the family, she created a legacy of love, sacrifice, and resilience that endured through the decades having raised four children: Bobby Virgil Gentry, Jeff Gentry, Else (Gentry) Watkins, and Ruby (Gentry) Doub. Flo committed her life to her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as her lifetime companion and friend, Alphonzo (Al) A. Britt, and especially her grand dog, Nala.
All of Dauphin County can be inspired by Flo’s extensive tenure, robust work ethic, strong heart, and genuine love of life. She admirably retired from the Harrisburg City Government Center with 35 years of service and worked many years employed by Dauphin County. While employed at the Harrisburg City Government Center, Flo supported the City’s early inclusion efforts as a Spanish language interpreter by providing on-call emergency translating for the Harrisburg Police Department. For several decades, she was also a proud, active Union Member of AFCME District Council 90.
Flo was a passionate woman who savored spending time with her family, friends, and the love of her life, Al, in which they both shared a love for God. In fact, Flo served faithfully as an Usher at St. John’s CME Church in Harrisburg for many years. She loved cooking, baking from scratch, shopping at the Broad Street Market, spending hours at flea markets, trips to the beach, swimming, crocheting, collecting stamps and coins, visiting casinos, music, dancing, and being around family. A core value of hers was to cherish long standing friendships, especially with her best friend, Mamie Williams. Flo was the amateur photographer of the family, and taking pictures was not just a profound passion of hers, but she also saw it as a responsibility. In fact, the vast majority of her family’s pictorial memories come from her extensive photograph collections largely taken with disposable cameras.
Flo has received many awards throughout her lifetime, including proclamations and citations from former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, State Representative Patty Kim, former Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste, Commissioner Mike Pries, Commissioner George P. Hartwick III, former Harrisburg City Mayor Stephen R. Reed, Harrisburg City Mayor Wanda Williams, and former Mayor of Steelton Maria Marcinko to name a few. More recently, Flo was honored by the Civic Club of Harrisburg for her continued support in the community.
Flo’s physical presence may be absent, but her legacy and impact remain with the many who loved and admired her. Flo was preceded in death by her son Jeff Gentry and life-long partner Alphonzo A. Britt. She leaves to cherish her memory: son Bobby Gentry, daughter Else (Gentry) Watkins, daughter Ruby (Gentry) Doub, son-in-law Michael Doub, step-daughter-in-law Geneen Britt-Mitchell, step-daughter-in-law Monique Mitchell; grandchildren- grandson Steven Crummel, granddaughter-in-law Eileen Jacobs Crummel, granddaughter Dr. Chelsea A. Doub, granddaughter Nashaé Jones, grandson-in-law Terrence Jones, grandson James Watkins, granddaughter Kelly Lynn Gentry and granddaughter Brandy Lynn Gentry, along with a host of great grandchildren.
A special thanks to Amedisys Hospice for taking exceptional care of Flo and Alphonzo in their last days. Sincere appreciation also goes to other caregivers that supported them through Hospice care. Lastly, we’d like to send the utmost gratitude to Dr. Jeffries for providing her not only with medical care for 30+ years but also for being one of her most trusted friends.
From the Family, you may be gone but never forgotten. You will always be in our hearts, minds, and souls. We love you, Mom, and we thank God for sharing you with us for 86 years!
Te queremos, Mamá
Services are at the discretion of the family.