May 12, 1955 – July 21, 2017
Mark S. Gentz, of Hamburg, a facility manager, died July 21 in Roswell Park Cancer Institute after a short battle with liver cancer. He was 62.
Born in Niagara Falls, he was a 1973 graduate of West Seneca East High School and attended Erie Community College and Buffalo State College.
He delivered The Buffalo News as a youth and after college was a salesman at a seed supply store, a store manager for Purchase Radio, a head teller for M&T Bank at Thruway Plaza, a van driver and a furniture restoration supervisor.
He was a mechanic, service manager and bookkeeper for his uncle’s business, Grand Island Automotive, from 1980 to 1985, then worked for Allentown Industries Heritage Centers in Hamburg, the Town of Tonawanda and Buffalo until 2005 as production procurement manager.
Since then he was facility manager for CHC Learning Center in Amherst, a program of the Center for Handicapped Children, and for Kadimah Academy.
A man of many interests and a dedicated problem-solver, Mr. Gentz was a self-taught woodworker, carver, handyman and guitarist. His wife Janice, executive director at CHC Learning Center, says he gave away his creations to family and friends and all his life performed random acts of kindness, often for strangers.
He also enjoyed hot rods and classic cars, pinstriping, airbrush painting, reading, music, humor, memory techniques and travel.
The youngest representative elected to the Lutheran Council, he later earned a doctorate of divinity online and was an ordained non-denominational minister.
"He told me, 'I just did it because I wanted to be closer to God,'" his wife says.
He pursued his jobs and hobbies despite undergoing chemotherapy treatment for 21 years for a chronic health condition, sarcoidosis.
He and the former Janice C. Phillips met when they were counselors for disadvantaged youth at Concerned Ecumenical Ministries. They were married in 1978.
Survivors also include two brothers, Daniel J. and Neal C.
A memorial service was held Sunday in Wesleyan Church of Hamburg, 4999 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg.