Mary Catherine Besmer Gentes of Manteca, CA, beloved wife of R. Joseph (“Joe”) Gentes, passed away on Monday, September 23, 2019. She was born in St. Louis, MO, on February 12, 1932 to the late Mary C. and Lawrence H. Besmer, both of whom preceded her into eternal rest.
In addition to her husband, she leaves behind son Jerome and his husband Michael Bourque of San Jose, CA; son Matthew of Ben Lomond, CA; daughter Julie Wood and her husband David of Brentwood, CA; son William and his wife Susannah of Williamsville, NY; son Philippe James and his wife Melissa of Mindin, NV; son John of Los Altos, CA; and son Raju and his wife Supriya of Manteca, CA. Along with her husband, she also adopted three other children--Kim, Mija, and Holly Gentes--and fostered three more. She has been blessed with several grandchildren.
Two sisters survive her: Janet Besmer of Teutopolis, IL and Ann Besmer Kenny of Henderson, NV. In addition to her parents, she is preceded in passing by her late sisters Annette Besmer, Helene Moore, and Marguerite Avenevoli, and her brothers Thomas, Lawrence, and Anthony Besmer.
After her Missouri childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, Mary followed several family members west to California. She and Joe met there and subsequently married on October 7, 1961. Like him, she was a devout Catholic, and throughout her life was an active member and volunteer in her local parishes. Mary worked for many years in businesses and companies throughout the Santa Clara Valley as a secretary, administrative assistant, and executive secretary. In addition to her career, she had exceptional do-it-yourself skills in the home, the kitchen, and the outdoors. She eventually matriculated at and graduated with honors from the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, CA. She always maintained a beautiful home, including the one where she and Joe retired before they later moved to Manteca, located at the 5000-foot elevation in the Sierra Nevada, in Arnold, CA.
Mary loved her sizeable immediate and extended family, and her many new and lifelong friends and family friends, particularly Dorothy Ferreira Mullins and Mary Brumleve. Whether she was car camping, RVing, hosteling or hoteling, she enjoyed entertaining and traveling from the tip of Baja California to the Indonesian archipelago to North Africa, and exploring her many activities and hobbies. In retirement, she turned her lifelong passion for sewing into an enthusiasm for quilting and became a certified master gardener.
She will long be loved and remembered for her faith, her strength of character, her generosity, her sense of humor, her moral and intellectual intelligence, her extraordinary family and career, and as a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, neighbor and dear friend.
A Rosary Vigil will be held at P.L. Fry & Son Funeral Home, 290 North Union Road
Manteca, CA, on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 3pm. Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 11:00am at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, 4911 Moorpark Ave, San Jose, CA. Mary will be laid to rest directly afterwards at Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, 22555 Cristo Rey Drive, Los Altos, CA, followed by a reception.
To leave a condolence message, please visit www.plfryandson.com. P.L. Fry & Son Funeral Home is honored to serve the Gentes Family.
To send flowers to Mary's family, please visit our floral section.