Born in Boston in 1912, Mary Jane Catherine Gentry became an accomplished educator, historian, author and world traveler. Her 1946 University of Texas Master's thesis, written under supervision of Walter Prescott Webb, was entitled "Thurber: The Life and Death of a Texas Town." Today, it is a classic in Texas cultural and social history, and still guides much of the continuing research and interpretation of that historic town. She also co-authored The Story of Texas, adopted as a seventh-grade history textbook and used by children throughout the state. Gentry taught in public schools at Thurber, Springer Gap, San Angelo, Austin and Odessa, and at Odessa College before passing away in Dallas in 1996.