Longtime Memphian and outstanding leader Carol Glenn Gentry, who first began supporting the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) following college graduation in 1985, died peacefully at her home in Memphis, Tenn. on May 9, family and members said May 12. She was 57.
The 9th National Annual Convention held in Memphis at the Cook Convention Center, in 1985, initiated Gentry’s commitment to OBAP.
“Carol Gentry began supporting our organization at an integral point more than three decades ago and handled her role with grace, compassion and unwavering commitment. Most proudly, she led the establishment of Memphis as a Center of Excellence; guiding the first-ever OBAP and FedEx Express Captains’ Ceremony in 1988, annual Boys to Men and Girls to Women workshops at Wooddale High School and overseeing the enrollment and success of the Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy and sUAS Training Academy for years,” said Capt. Albert Glenn, brother, OBAP board of advisors member and pilot, FedEx Express.
In 2006, Gentry was hired as programs director for the organization leading the management and oversight of the organization’s initiatives designed to increase minority participation in aviation and aerospace through exposure, training, mentoring and scholarships.
Under Gentry’s leadership, OBAP has awarded $4.8 million in scholarships to more than 470 diverse recipients through strengthened partnerships. The organization’s ACE Academy, providing middle school-aged youth with exposure to opportunities in aerospace and aviation through weeklong summer sessions, has engaged more than 30,000 to date and is available in 26 cities including Puerto Rico and St. Croix. The organization’s career expositions; Spring Career Fair held in Las Vegas, each April and the National Annual Convention held each August, collectively engage more than 3,000 aerospace professionals. The Collegiate Series, arguably Carol’s most rewarding initiative, offers year-round career development workshops and support to assist students in navigating the transition from college to career.
“Carol’s passing is so much more than a loss for our organization. It’s a grave loss for our entire industry and to the young adults who’ve benefited so profoundly from her investment in their lives, their preparation and their achievements toward attaining careers in aviation. Countless young adults, partners, volunteers and more than 6,000 OBAP members, past and present, are mourning the passing of our dear friend,” said Capt. Karl Minter, OBAP board chairman and pilot, United Airlines.
The Carol Glenn Gentry Scholarship has been established in her honor to provide qualifying individuals with the financial support needed to advance careers in aviation through continued education and training. More information will be made available at the OBAP website.