Editor’s note: This feature is part of a weekly focus from The Star meant to highlight and remember the lives of Black Kansas Citians who have died.
Anthony “Tony” Guthrie sought to defend his country one aircraft at a time. A member of the United States Air Force, Guthrie served as an Air Traffic Control Craftsman for more than 22 years.
“He was a real patriot,” Calvin Carter, Guthrie’s cousin, said. “He was one of the best.”
Carter and Guthrie served in the Air Force together for many years, beating the odds through war zones in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
“He chose air traffic control because it was challenging,” Carter said. “He thought it would be like a real big accomplishment mastering and controlling the aircraft in the air,” Carter said.
The Air Force took Guthrie all over the world. He served long and short tours to Italy, Turkey, and a host of other countries. He even earned an Air Force Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Cluster Awards, a joint Service Achievement Medal, an Air Force Commendation Medal, and many more. He retired in 2003.
“His legacy will forever live on. He was a wonderful leader,” Ylonda Carter, Guthrie’s cousin, said.
Guthrie died on July 13. He was 62 years old.
He was born to Eare Jean Williams and James Thomas Guthrie on April 10, 1959 in St. Louis, Missouri, though he grew up in Centerville, Illinois.
He was educated at Cahokia Senior High School, later attending Western Illinois University. It was then his family said he realized his purpose in life was to serve his country.
She said that because of Guthrie’s leadership in the military, many of his younger family members followed in his footsteps.
“There was nothing he didn’t think he could do. If he felt like it could be done, he was going to do it and he tried to lead others the same way and I think that’s why so many people joined the military,” she added. “He should have been a recruiter.”
Since Guthrie died, many of his military friends have reached out to share their stories with her, she said, calling and texting just to let the family know “what a wonderful person he was.”
There was nothing Guthrie wouldn’t do for someone, Ylonda Carter said, he’d jump through hoops to do whatever he could to help another person.
“He was a very humorous person. Very loving and kind. He always treated me like a daughter,” she said.
There was an 11-year difference between the two, and Ylonda Carter always looked up to her big cousin.
“I’m going to miss our morning calls everyday and cooking for him,” Ylonda said. “If he could eat fish every day, he would,” she said with a laugh.
Guthrie’s family said when he wasn’t directing aircrafts, they would catch him in his free time trying his best to dance or watching any kind of sports.
Originally from the St. Louis area, being a St. Louis Rams and Cardinals fan was natural.
“Even in the hospital, he was following the Cardinals no matter what,” Ylonda Carter said.
Though loyal to his hometown, Guthrie also enjoyed attending football and baseball games, supporting the Kansas City Chiefs and the Royals.
Guthrie is preceded in death by his mother, Eare Jean Williams, his father, James Thomas Guthrie; and brother, Remmone Guthrie.
He is survived by his brother; Brian Guthrie; sisters-in-law, MahLee Guthrie, Vickie Guthrie, and Renando Renee Ferguson; sons, Anthony DeWayne Lontrez Guthrie, and Antaurean Jewel Thomas Guthrie; grandchildren, ZeNaya Mechelle Guthrie, Joshua Mxzchael Haskins, Anna Marie Green, and a host of uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Bronzelle Gentry, former General Motors employee, died on July 7. She was 75.
Gentry was born on Oct. 22, 1945, to Oscar and Beauna Gentry in Birmingham, Alabama.
She graduated from Western-Olin High School, after which, she married Fred Carlisle with whom she had three children.
Gentry worked for many years at General Motors. Her family said she developed lasting friendships from her time working there, but of all of her friendships there, it was her childhood friend, Johnnie “Boo” Watley who was closest to her heart. They were best friends who married best friends at a double wedding. Their bond remained strong until the end, family said.
Affectionately called “Bronzie,” Gentry had a calm and soothing demeanor. They often relied on her to be the voice of reason.
Gentry is survived by her children Rudy Gentry and Alecia Carlisle; brother, Carl Gentry; and sister; Gwendolyn Clayborne, as well as a host of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
William Edward Hanks Sr.
William Edward Hanks, Army Veteran and Mechanic, died on July 14. He was 93 years old.
Hanks was born on Sept. 6, 1927, to Judy Mae Jackson and Eddie Hanks in Indian Bay, Arkansas.
He was educated in the Marvell, Arkansas, school system where he earned his high school diploma before being drafted to fight in the Korean War.
In March of 1960, William married Mattie Lee Goodrich. The two were married for 42 years.
Family said Hanks was known and loved by many especially, his children and grandchildren.
He is survived by his children; William Edward Hanks Jr., Thearchy Hanks, Theotis Hanks, Verna lowe Guido, Mary Parks, Janice Stewart, Patricia Douglas Ward, Dianne Knox, Linda Kay Glass, Tracey Hanks, Christopher Hanks, London Santos, Danny Hanks, Leslie Hanks, Donta Hanks, Davaney Hanks, and Julisha Hanks; 54 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.