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Dance Teacher Betty Gentry Dead at 87

Longtime Newark ballet and tap instructor Betty Gentry passed on Sunday, family members said.

The woman who brought tap and ballet to Newark for decades has died, family members confirmed Tuesday.

Fremont resident and longtime Newark dance instructor Betty Gentry died Sunday. She was 87.

Gentry, born and raised in San Francisco, ran her own studio for 15 years. Afterward, she moved to Fremont, where she planned to focus on raising her daughter.

Then in December 1963, Gentry started teaching dance in Newark and throughout her 48 years as a , her classes expanded to include ballet, tap, hip-hop and adult dance classes.

In June 2011, Gentry’s was held and the Newark City Council commended her upon her retirement.

“You’ve just created such a legacy here in Newark. You’ve touched so many lives,” said former mayor David Smith during the council’s . “Your light is going to continue to shine on us for years and years to come.”

Gentry told the audience that night that she was thankful for being a part of the Newark community.

“I’ve always been very, very happy. And (my) classes were good because of you,” Gentry said in June. “Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives. …It was not a job. It was a joy.”

Read the here. A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, May 12, 2012 at the Chapel of the Roses, 1940 Peralta Blvd. in Fremont, at 1:00 p.m.

Harold Colon May 13, 2012 at 03:20 AM
The Show Must Go On By Harold Colon May 12, 2012 It has been said A good soul passes from this life to the next Leaving only footprints in the sand But As we all know There are exceptions Betty Gentry Is one of those exceptions We Can all hear her whispers In the wind As a breeze blows across the stage Causing Hairs on the backs of the audience watching To quiver She is speaking, laughing, joking and dancing Through her students Her legacy lives on As Her spirit gently and firmly touches each one of us Performing on stage The stage lights not only accent the dance But they Underscore the good feeling We all get When we smile and try our best To reject the notion That it can not be done Betty did not just leave A footprint in the sand She left A Godzilla size impression of her love for dance in us all Dance does not stifle our brains But it energizes it Just like Betty did and still does From her balcony seat High up In the clouds
Karen L. Narveson May 13, 2012 at 05:36 AM
I was lucky to get to dance with Mrs. Gentry when I was 5. I got to work with her when I was 16. It was so amazing to be with her and know her all that time. I was working with her up to the time I had to give birth to my daughter. I felt like family the way she treated me. She smelled of Gloria Vanderbuilt perfume and always had bright pink lipstick. Though she was five foot two, she was a giant to me. It was fun going to dance conventions with her. She was like my other mother. Mrs. Gentry blessed me with songs and dance moves that I still use today. Her family is so wonderful, and I hope the best during their time off great loss. Thank you, Mrs. Gentry for being an important influence in my life. I loved her very much. Submitted by Karen L. Narveson.
Margaret Jean Mikel May 15, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I knew Betty all through her dance clases in Newark and then naming the Sillaman Center room after her, but my husband and I joined the Elks Club in Fremont 15 years ago and this is where I really got to now Betty. Never knew her husband Jack, but Betty has her own table at Elks for Monday and Friday night dinners in remembrnce of Jack and it was hard for me to see her picture up there with his plaque above this table last Sunday for the Mothers Day Brunch. She was a great person and I got to see her alot at the Elks and grew to really know and love her. She is missed but I can still see her laugh and smile reaching down to us!
Anna Robbins May 15, 2012 at 05:59 AM
I never took dance from Betty but my mother, sister and niece all did and I've never missed a recital. Betty has been a dear family friend for many, many years and she will live in our hearts forever.
Teacher July 14, 2012 at 04:04 PM
When I think back to my childhood in the 70's in Newark, I can't help but remember Mrs. Gentry's ballet lessons. "Plie" - can't remember how to do one, but I remember the word. Rest in Peace Mrs. Gentry. You touched so many of our lives!

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