Lawrence LeGrande Gentry, 87, passed away peacefully at his home Sunday morning, May 10, 2020.
LeGrande was born October 23, 1932 in Loris, South Carolina the son of the late Murray H. and Versie Gause Gentry. At a young age, he moved to the sleepy little hamlet of Mount Pleasant nearer to his mother’s native Florence. He grew up hunting and fishing in rural Mount Pleasant, experiences he cherished throughout his life. He was graduated from Moultrie High School and took great pride in having won the state football title in 1950. He briefly attended the Citadel and then joined his father at one of the family businesses, a full service ESSO station in Mount Pleasant. In 1954, he married Princess Anne Cox of Loris, S.C. and they were happily married for 64 years, until her death in April, 2019. LeGrande enlisted in the United States Army in 1952 and served at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC. He also served in Korea and France before returning stateside at Fort Carson, Colorado and later Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He rose steadily through the enlisted ranks, serving as Drill Instructor Sergeant during the Vietnam years. He trained overseas bound recruits while stationed in Berkeley, California and also served as the official Army escort for fallen soldiers, traveling all over the country for the burials. He always remarked how nice and gracious the families were to him – from Texas to Maine - during those stressful, sad times. . LeGrande was immensely proud of his military service and it defined him in many ways for the rest of his life. He retired in 1969, returning to South Carolina, this time Greenville, and bought into the fledgling Mac Tool Distributorship franchise along with his father, at one time being responsible for nearly the entire Upstate. He served out the remainder of his military service with the National Guard in the Greenville area. LeGrande retired from Mac Tools in 1993. Following the death of his oldest son, Lawrence LeGrande (Sonny) Gentry, Jr. in 2013, he and Princess Anne moved to St. George to be closer to their youngest son, Andrew
LeGrande lived a long and full life. He adored his grandchildren and enjoyed driving around town visiting people and doing business with the local establishments. He is survived, in addition to his son, by daughters-in-law Elizabeth J. Gentry of St. George and Karen F. Gentry of Greenville, SC and grandchildren Alletta Wood Gentry of Orlando, Fla, Anne Watts Gentry of Charleston, SC and Thomas Andrew Gentry of St. George.
Bryant Funeral Home of St. George and Goldfinch Funeral Home of Loris are in charge of arrangements. A private graveside service will be held 11 am Thursday, May 14, 2019 at the Carter Family Cemetery of near Loris. In lieu of flowers, his family has asked memorials to be directed to the Upper Dorchester County Community Ministries Food Bank, P.O. Box 361. St. George, S.C. 29477.
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