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Rita Jean Gentry McCartney

October 7, 1932 ~ September 28, 2023 (age 90) 90 Years Old

Rita McCartney Obituary

Rita Jean Gentry McCartney passed away in Urbana at 10:00 pm on September 28th, 2023.  She was born on October 7, 1932, in the home of her parents, Walter Edward Brewer and Laura Irene Prevo Brewer in Terre Haute, Indiana.  Rita is survived by her husband, Dean Edwin “Ed” McCartney, her three children, Jennifer Gentry (Janet) of Urbana, IL & Campton, NH, James B. Gentry (Leslie) of Ballwin, MO, Kirsten Poetzel (Adam) of Champaign, IL, grandchildren James Clay Gentry of Kirkwood, MO, Hannah Gentry of Ballwin, MO, Laura Poetzel, Anna Poetzel and Aaron Poetzel of Champaign, IL, and one great grandchild, Delaney Gentry of Kirkwood, MO.  She was also stepmother to Ed’s children, Holly, Scott, Heather, and Crystal. Rita’s sister, Shirley Concannon of Agoura Hills, CA, predeceased her.   Her family was extremely important to her, and they were so often blessed by her quiet generosity and loyalty.

Rita grew up in Terre Haute and graduated from Indiana State University with a BS in Elementary Education.  Rita married James A. Gentry in 1954, and they lived in Merced, CA, and Bangor, ME, while Jim served in the Air Force.  In 1962, Rita and Jim moved to Bloomington, IN where Rita was an elementary school teacher and received her MS in Educationfrom Indiana University. They relocated to Urbana, IL, in 1966, where Rita worked on her Doctorate in Education at the University of Illinois and taught at King Elementary school for 28 years before retiring.  After she and Jim divorced in 1995, Rita remained in Urbana and married Ed in 2011.  

Rita was involved in and tirelessly served as an officer and president of many organizations, including the U of I Symphony Guild, the Chi Omega sorority, Retired Teachers of Illinois, and University of Illinois Women’s Club.  Also Rita, supported by Ed and her daughters, spent many hours fundraising for the Symphony Guild by selling coverlets.

Rita requested, in lieu of a formal memorial service, that her family and friends each do a good deed for someone else in her memory. Internment will be at the Darwin, IL, cemetery, which is near her grandparents’ family home.

Memorials can be sent to the Red Cross, the First Methodist Church of Urbana or the CU Symphony Guild.

Condolences may be sent to Jennifer Gentry at PO Box 2213, Campton, NH 03223

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