April 5, 1967 - September 8, 2017
The day was pleasant as they arrived at the venue. It was sure to be a good day with the sun shining so bright on this September morn.
They were setting up for the night’s show at Flying W Airport and Resort near Medford, New Jersey. Just two men, who became brothers through music—that was what Montgomery Gentry was all about.
It was Troy who loved the action and adventure part of life. It was Troy who excitedly said ‘yes’ to a helicopter tour around the area. But some adventures come to a crashing halt…
“Wake up son…” said the man.
“What? Where am I?” asked Troy.
“Well... You’re in the spirit world…”
“What? Wait! No! This can’t happen! I’m not ready!”
“No one is ever ready to die son, trust me I know…”
“But my wife...my girls...Taylor and Kaylee?”
“They’ll be fine. They have each other. They have family and friends…”
“Son, none of us are guaranteed a long life to live. If we are lucky, we get to live to see old age…”
“Son you lived a life full of adventure. But your faith led you to a wonderful family filled with love. You have raised two fine daughters who will live on in your stead. They will do fine things, because they too have faith.”
“My music… I didn’t make it. I didn’t get to where I really wanted to go with my music…”
“Son, how can you say that?”
“What do you mean?”
“What is the greatest accomplishment in country music? What is the most sought after prize in country music?”
He paused and looked down at the ground and then looked back at the man before him. With a questioning look in his eyes, he shrugs his shoulders as to say ‘I don’t know.’
The man laughs and slaps Troy on the back in friendly gesture and says…
“The Grand Ole Opry son… The Grand Ole Opry.”
In that split second, Troy understood what this man was saying. In all his ups and downs of the roller coaster called country music, he had made it and he had never even realized it.
The fond memory of stepping upon the elegant and historic Grand Ole Opry stage still lingers within his mind. It’s as if it happened just yesterday. It wasn’t to far after that first appearance that he and his partner Eddie were asked to join the cast of the Opry. That was in 2009. Now nearly nine years later, he was dead.
“You know I always wanted a solo career…”
“We all want something, son. Life gives us the things we were meant to have...are you saying that your career with Eddie wasn’t good?”
“No, it was good.” said Troy. At that moment he understood what the stranger was saying. He had returned to his roots of playing and performing with Eddie, because that was his destiny. The stranger was right and he felt embarrassed about his thoughts. On the flip side, he also felt blessed.
“What about Eddie? How is he going to go on?”
“Eddie has his own strengths to fall back on. Part of his destiny was to perform with you. He helped you! But his main destiny is yet to be revealed.”
Death. Family. Love. Career. Destiny. The thoughts of those subjects as well as bits of his life kept running through his mind. Now what?
It’s as if the stranger could read his mind… “It’s time to go Troy.”
“Son...your musical endeavors are not over just yet!” laughed the stranger.
The stranger led Troy to the light. He had not seen it until just then. Nonetheless this light was bright, but inviting. It had a warm feeling filled with love. With one last glance back to view the wreckage of the crash, he realized that he was only fifty years old.
He took one step into the light and he was on the other side. The stranger was there waiting.
It wasn’t until that moment that he realized whom the stranger was. In the soft light of heaven, the stranger was there to guide him. The stranger, a long lost friend, gently slapped Troy on the back and said…
“Welcome to the Opry in the sky, Troy. We’ve been waitin’ for you…” smiled George Jones.
Official Obituary and Celebration of Life of Troy Gentry
Troy Lee Gentry passed away Sept. 8, 2017 in Medford, N.J., at the age of 50. He was born April 5, 1967 in Lexington, Kentucky.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lloyd and Patricia Gentry, and his brother, Keith Gentry.
A loving father and devoted husband, Gentry is survived by his wife, Angie Gentry (nee McClure), as well as his daughters, Taylor and Kaylee.
He was a graduate of Lexington Community College and he attended the University of Kentucky.
Gentry was best known as a member of the award-winning country duo Montgomery Gentry, along with his longtime friend Eddie Montgomery. The pair began performing together in their home state of Kentucky and released their debut album, Tattoos & Scars, in 1999. The duo, whose trademark sound combined Southern Rock and Country, scored a string of No. 1 hits, including "If You Ever Stop Loving Me," "Something to Be Proud Of," "Lucky Man," "Back When I Knew It All" and "Roll With Me." They achieved Platinum certification on three of their albums and Gold certification on three others.
In 2009 the duo became members of the venerable Grand Ole Opry, which was Gentry's proudest professional achievement.
The band was planning to release an album of new music in 2018 to mark their 20th anniversary as a duo.
A generous man, Gentry supported numerous charitable organizations including Make A Wish Foundation and T.J. Martell Foundation as well as military-related charities such as The USO. He was an active supporter of breast cancer awareness and research. Montgomery Gentry was honored with the Academy of Country Music's Humanitarian Award in 2009.
Known for his wide smile, Gentry was personally driven by faith, family and living life to the fullest. He was happiest on the water with his family. He enjoyed both wake boarding and snow skiing. Gentry was also an active supporter of various athletic teams at his daughter Kaylee's school.
A follower of Christ, Gentry faithfully attended Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn., when he was not on the road. One of his favorite bible verses was Deuteronomy 31:6, which says, "Be strong and courageous; don't be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you."
A public celebration of Gentry's life will take place Thursday, Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. CT at the Grand Ole Opry House, located at 2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN. 37214. A private, family internment will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to T.J. Martell Foundation or The American Red Cross for hurricane relief.
(© Strictly Country Magazine - September 2017.)
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