Margaret Anderson Gentry

October 29, 1930 ~ August 22, 2020 (age 89)


Margaret “Peggy” Anderson Gentry, 89, a longtime resident of Chattanooga, mother of four, friend to many, world traveler, lifelong learner and decorated athlete died Saturday, August 22, 2020. The daughter of Robert and Emilyn (Goudelock) Steele Anderson, Peggy was born October 29, 1930 in Oklahoma City and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee among a large extended family. A natural athlete, Peggy distinguished herself as an equestrian, winning multiple trophies as a teenager. But perhaps her most remarkable achievement in athletics was winning seven state championships in trapshooting. In fact, she often shot alongside author, conservationist and fellow duck hunter Nash Buckingham. Peggy graduated from Connecticut College for Women with a BS in Chemistry and later used that experience in laboratory cancer research, stirred by her great uncle, Monroe Dunaway Anderson, a founder of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. Likely inspired by her own mother and grandmother and long before international travel would have been considered commonplace among women unaccompanied by a man, Peggy explored the planet. She and a girlfriend, both fluent in French, went to Europe on several occasions as well as South America, flying over the Andes in an unpressurized plane. A May 1955 article in the Nashville Tennessean alluded to the upcoming nuptials between Peggy and her soon-to-be-groom James Walter Gentry, Jr. (Jim), a decorated Marine who served in the Korean War and a Vanderbilt Law School student, when they met. According to the Tennessean, Jim had met the "beauteous Peggy Anderson...and was mighty sure she was to be Mrs. Gentry, the Gods willing". On June 25, 1955 Peggy and Jim were married, and the couple moved to Chattanooga after Jim finished law school. While raising four children, Peggy was active in various community organizations including the flower guild at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Junior League, the Riverview Garden Club and the Chattanooga Art Association. In addition to her talent in sports and academics, Peggy was a talented knitter and could sometimes be seen knitting sweaters for friends and family from the stands of her children’s sporting events. She also produced beautiful needlepoint work, including the cushions at St. Peter’s used for kneeling during the Eucharist. Peggy was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of over 60 years, and her sisters Elizabeth Anderson McCall and Emilyn Anderson Welch. She is survived by her daughter Leland Gentry Arnsdorff (Stephen Cary Arnsdorff) and sons James Walter Gentry III, Robert Anderson Gentry, and Benjamin Clayton Gentry (Jennie Wallace Gentry), grandchildren Lili Tresa Arnsdorff, William Todd Gentry (Brittani D Gentry), and many nieces and nephews. Graveside service will be held Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at Chattanooga National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a memorial to St. Peters Episcopal Church, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, or a charity of your choice. Arrangements are entrusted to Lane Funeral Home Chattanooga Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace, Chattanooga, TN 37415, (423) 877-3524.

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