Deputy Gentry's funeral services are planned for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 15 at the Highlands News-Sun Center located at 781 Magnolia Avenue in Sebring. Memorial contributions can be made to the Highlands County Sheriff's Office at 400 S. Eucalyptus Street in Sebring.
Memorial services will temporarily close a portion of US 27. Southbound lanes will be closed at Sparrow Avenue. The northbound lanes of Highlands Blvd. will be closed during the procession. Detours will be in place to re-route normal traffic.
Deputy William J. Gentry Jr., badge number 2247, ended his watch at 1:10 p.m. on Monday, May 7, 2018.
Deputy Gentry was born on Nov. 3, 1977 and grew up in Fort Myers. He attended Lemon Bay High School for one year before moving to Lake Placid and attending Lake Placid High School, graduating in 1996.
Deputy Gentry joined the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office family on March 23, 2005. He immediately fell in love with the work of the K-9 Unit, and joined that unit as soon as he was able. He and his partner, Roni, patrolled Highlands County for the next four years. When Roni was retired from duty in 2012, Deputy Gentry could not bear the thought of leaving him at home and taking another dog to work, so he transferred back to road patrol.
He soon transferred to the Special Investigations Unit, working to keep the streets of Highlands County free from illegal drugs.
A talented artist and woodworker, Deputy Gentry left the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office in 2013 to make custom pool cues. He came back to the agency on Feb. 1, 2017. In April of 2018, he became a Field Training Deputy, taking on the task of mentoring young deputies as they began their law enforcement careers. He was doing just that when he was taken from us.
Deputy Gentry is survived by his parents, William J. “Jack” Gentry and Susan, as well as his younger brother Kevin, who is a detective with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office; his former wife, Jennifer; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
He is also survived by his four dogs, who were the center of his world away from work. In addition to Roni, his faithful partner, he also opened his home to Sika, Chubbs and Link.
Funeral services for Deputy Gentry are planned for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 15 at the Highlands News-Sun Center, 781 Magnolia Ave., Sebring, FL 33870. Memorial contributions can be made to the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office at 400 S. Eucalyptus St., Sebring, FL 33870.
Even in death, Deputy Gentry is a hero. His organs were donated and have already helped save the lives of six people. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” -- John 15:13
The family requests donations to www.rescueranch.com in lieu of flowers. Arrangements entrusted to Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home, Sebring, Fla.; www.stephensonnelsonfh.com
VIP parking will be on site to the east of the facility.
Law Enforcement parking will be adjacent to the football field on site.
Overflow parking for Law Enforcement will be at the Sebring High School parking lot across the street (Highlands Blvd.)
Public Parking will be to the north of the venue across Magnolia Ave. and towards Hickory Street.
Governor Rick Scott ordered the flags of the United States and the State of Florida to be flown at half-staff at the Highlands County Courthouse in Sebring, the City Hall in Sebring, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office in Sebring and at the State Capitol in Tallahassee from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 in honor of Deputy Gentry.