Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ed Gentry Rest in Peace

On Sunday evening July 20, First Christian hosted the memorial service for Ed Gentry. I was proud to officiate at the service which included live blues music, some wonderful speakers and clips from Ed's many documentaries. Ed was a published fantasy author, local historian and preservationist, documentary filmmaker, avid Democratic political activist and much, much more.

I got to know Ed only briefly before his death. After I wrote a letter to the editor protesting the imagery used in one of Sam Graves' political ads, I received a phone call the day of its publication--early on a Saturday morning from Ed, heretofore unknown to me. Ed thanked me for the letter and seemed generally amazed that a minister would have written it. Although the purpose of my letter was less about attacking Sam Graves or promoting Kay Barnes and much more about standing up against imagery that defames minorities--Ed seemed just grateful to know there was a minister out there who was sympathetic to his side of the political spectrum. A few days later, I received a thick packet of information from Ed containing copies of other letters he had written to various newspapers and political information. Interestingly, he also enclosed a small donation to the church.

Ed and I never met face to face. I didn't know he was struggling with a heart condition, and I didn't realize he was in the hospital for it until I was out of town. By the time I returned, Ed had died. A member of the church knew Ed and his wife Debbie, so the church along with my services were quickly volunteered to help with the memorial service. I was honored to take part in celebrating Ed's terrific and unique life.

I'd encourage you to check out the web site of Ed's great passion--the Interurban Railway that ran between Kansas City and St. Joseph in the early part of the 20th century. (I would love it if such a line ran now.)

Grace and Peace,


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