I had not intended to spend two weeks writing blogs that mention Justin’s Nut Butter, but last week the natural products industry lost a member of its community, who happened to be the president of Justin’s.
Lance Gentry was the former vice president of marketing for Izze Beverage Company and a board member of the Conscious Alliance—but he was much more than the sum of his work.
On Friday evening, Lance lost his 17-month battle against brain cancer. He died at home, leaving behind his wife Nancy and two young children, and a community of friends and colleagues that seemed to build a spiral of infinite concentric circles around him with his family at its core. I knew Lance and Nancy because our children had gone to preschool together.
Choosing not to document his illness on a site such as “Caring Bridge,” Lance and Nancy wrote about his illness in their amazingly open and heartfelt blog: Love Laugh Veggies! He questioned our daily use of cell phones, while Nancy espoused the benefits of sleep (HBT-Horizontal Before Ten). He wrote passionately about kale, wheatgrass, a raw diet and juicing, our alkaline levels, and much more. They shared their journey with energy, dignity and honesty, even as they wrote about the hard questions a couple has to answer when they are in a situation such as the one they faced.
Their energy and sharing was in keeping with how friends saw Lance. As one colleague of mine noted: "He was widely acknowledged to be a passionate, spirited and honorable man with a heart—large to begin with— that was cracked open even wider through the challenge of illness."
Upon his passing, his family sent out a letter, encouraging anyone who has memories of Lance to write them down and send them to the family so that his children can continue to learn about their father.
The letter noted: “What a journey Lance and his family have been on for the past 17 months. Together, they learned so much about life and love. It has been a sojourn of hope, faith, charity and grace…The Gentry family thanks you for all you have done to uphold them throughout this passage. In deep gratitude for the love that binds us all together, and in the joy we all share in having known and loved Lance.”
Athough a small memorial service was held over the weekend at Boulder's Shambhala Center, a larger memorial to celebrate Lance's life will be scheduled for the fall. In lieu of flowers, those who feel inspired are welcome to make memorial contributions to Zach and Amélie's educational funds. c/o The Gentry Family, 1830 Mariposa Ave, Boulder, CO 80302.
Photo by Love Laugh Veggies!