Anna Marie (Gentry) Darbro passed away on October 17th, 2022, at Morning Star Care Home in Neodesha, Kansas. Visitation will be Thursday, October 20th, 2022, from 12-5pm at Webb and Rodrick Chapel. Graveside service will take place on October 21st, 2022 beginning at 2pm at Oak Hill Cemetery in Elk City, Kansas.
Anna Marie Gentry was born in Denver, CO, to Merrill and Gladys Gentry. She was the youngest of three children with older brothers, Leonard, and Kenneth. Anna lost her mother at age four and the family moved to Loveland, CO to be near relatives. This was where her passion and love of music was kindled and fostered. Her father later remarried, and they moved to Princeton, KS, then on to Ottawa, KS. She graduated from high school in Ottawa and began her college education at Ottawa University.
It was in Ottawa that Anna Marie met a young soldier about to leave for the Philippines and WWII. That short time left a big impression. Anna and Benny Lee Darbro were married after his return on April 1, 1947, a union that lasted for over 75 years. After their wedding, the newlyweds moved to St. Louis where Benny went to Brayton Air School, Anna Marie had an office job, and their first daughter, Jeannine, was born. After a brief time spent in Syracuse, KS, the young family moved to Wichita where both Benny and Anna Marie worked for Boeing Aircraft and Debra was born.
In 1955, the family made a bold move by buying the Mulvane, KS Dairy King. Anna Marie began a new career as a businesswoman managing the local hamburger joint and teenage hangout. During this time Anna became active in church activities, utilizing her musical talents and teaching Sunday School. During these Mulvane years, Lori and Joel came along bringing the family to six. Anna and Benny eventually sold the Dairy King, allowing Anna Marie to return her efforts towards obtaining a college degree. Anna attended Wichita State University, and still found time to work at the local bank.
The family moved to Owasso, OK in 1967 then to El Segundo, CA for a two-year adventure during which Benny worked at LAX. They made lots of fond memories there and met many friends. When they returned to Owasso, Anna Marie took advantage of the opportunity to finish her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Music at Tulsa University, thereby completing a lifelong goal. It was in Owasso that she fulfilled her desire to teach. Anna was a highly awarded third grade teacher at Ator Elementary School for ten years. During her teaching career and beyond, she continued to pursue her love of music. Anna played piano and organ in church, played for weddings, and taught piano to many beginning students. During their last years in Owasso, Anna Marie and Benny built a home on the ancestral Darbro farm west of Elk City. Anna and Benny ultimately lived in that home for nearly 40 years.
To know Anna Marie was to love her. Her kindness endeared her to all who were lucky enough to meet her. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers, and survived by her husband, Benny; her children, Jeannine Cobb (Frank), Debra Malmos, Lori Shaw (Jeff), and Joel Darbro (Holly); eleven grandchildren; and eighteen great grandchildren, all of whom will miss her greatly.
Donations may be made out to Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice and can be sent to family or the funeral home. Arrangements have been entrusted to Webb and Rodrick Chapel and Crematory. To leave a special message or send flowers to the services please go to www.webbrodrickfuneralhome.com.