A “Bit” of Remembrance – Pearl Owen Gentry – Malakoff’s Poet


by Britt Thompson (with much information from Tony Riddlesperger)

Pearl Owen Gentry

Pearl Raines Owen, daughter of John Randolph Owen and Mary Imogene Gilmer, was born in Hillsboro, Mississippi on July 31, 1878 and moved to Malakoff, Texas at the age of 18 years old.  She was following in the footsteps of five of her sisters with the same vocation of teaching, all of whom came to East Texas.  She was a school teacher in her youthful years, having taught at Rural Shade, Clear Creek, Lometa, and Trinidad.

When Pearl Owen came to Malakoff, her sister, Emma Owen Taner and her husband, Alonzo S. Tanner, took her in as a boarder in their home.  There she met fellow boarder, Dan Gentry, who was a nephew of Alonzo Tanner.  In a 1964 interview with The Sharpstown News, Pearl Owen said of her marriage to Dan Gentry, “I set my cap for him and chased him for two years before I caught him.”

Pearl Owen married Dan Gentry in Malakoff, Texas on June 5, 1904 at the Malakoff  Methodist Church, where they both remained members for the rest of their lives.  Dan and Pearl had two daughters, Mary Ann “Madie” Gentry, and Sella Aline “Scrap” Gentry.

Pearl Owen Gentry was a well-known regional poet who published three books of poetry – “Memories,” “Hilltops and Hollows,” and “Evening Red.”  Pearl Owen Gentry was a member of the Texas Poetry Society, and her poems appeared in many journals of that society and in numerous newspapers around the state ofTexas.

Pearl Owen Gentry died in Malakoff, Texas on April 10, 1974.  She is buried in Malakoff City Cemetery.

Perhaps her best-known poem is Evening Red, which appears below.

Pearl Owen Gentry - later years

EVENING RED

“Evening red and morning gray
Starts a traveler on his way:
But evening gray and morning red
Pours down rain upon his head.”

This weather rhyme, I learned in youth
And still, I think of it as truth.
For, when the evening sky is gray,
I seldom venture far away.

We had no broadcast long ago
Predicting rain or shine or snow.
Our forecast in the days gone by
Was written in the western sky.

And I believe the forecast then
Was accurate nine times in ten.
By following the little rhyme,
We were correct most of the time.

“Evening red and morning gray
Starts a traveler on his way.
But evening gray and morning red
Pours down rain upon his head.”

My evening sky is glowing red;
So, I fear not the roads ahead.
For, since no clouds of gray appear,
Tomorrow should be very clear.

My personal favorite among Aunt Pearl’s poems is the beautiful poem, entitled Life

LIFE

A lump of clay,
A gentle breath,
A radient day,
a night…a death.

A pain…a rapture,
Laughing…fretting,
A memory clear,
And then…forgetting.

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One thought on “A “Bit” of Remembrance – Pearl Owen Gentry – Malakoff’s Poet

  1. i have a copy of her book of ” hilltops and hollows” and i love it. But inside she has signed it ” ” ” Especially autographed for Mattie Wafford Cain”. One day a freind came by and i wasreadingthe poems. My freind said dont stop non her account id blike to hear them if you will read outloud . so i did and some of the poems made us cry and others made us laugh. she knows how tomove people ina good way.. thankyou for writting them.

    Sharon Horton
    Prairieville Texas

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