Former Fairhope City Council President Robert Gentle died March 8 after a prolonged battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
Gentle served on the council for two terms, from 2000 to 2008. He was also a former chairman of the city’s Industrial Development Board and one of the leaders of the Fresh Start Fairhope movement who sought to change Fairhope’s form of government last year.
Gentle was born in 1941, and leaves behind his wife of 29 years, Ellen; sister Mrs. Charles Nailen; two daughters, Jennifer and Julianna; two step-children, Allison and Billy; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Gentle had a degree in business from Howard University and owned a construction mediation firm, which had him traveling the country resolving disputes.
“The man enjoyed things,” Gentle’s obituary said. “He enjoyed a good steak, a glass of wine, sitting on the Orange Street pier to watch a sunset, bragging about his children and grandchildren, traveling with his wife, driving his golf cart around town waving like he was in a parade and being a forever student of history.”
Former Fairhope City Councilman Cecil Christenberry, who served two terms with Gentle on the council, said he will be greatly missed by the Fairhope community.
“It was an honor and a privilege to serve on the council with Bob,” Christenberry said. “He had a true heart for our city, and I’m sad he’s gone.”
Gentle’s memorial service will be held Monday, March 18 at St. James Church at 3 p.m.