by Jay Scherder, KY3 News
4:29 PM CST, February 10, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The community is coming together to remember the 29-year-old woman killed in an car accident on James River Freeway on Wednesday. Crystal Gentry was a mother of two and was well known to patrons of Gold Minds Toy Store.
She left an impression on everyone who met her. She always went above and beyond to put a smile on the faces of those around her. Gentry was more than just a manager of a toy store; she was an inspiration. With the loss, it creates a void that parents say is going to be very hard to fill.
"Crystal would always know my kids names, from the very first day," said Gold Minds customer Brooke Arnold.
"She greeted everyone with a smile," store co-owner Kristy Parker said. "She handed out lollipops to the kids, coffee to the moms."
"We would walk in the store and she would be excited to see them and my kids would be excited to see her," Arnold said.
Gentry had a gift.
"She wasn't afraid to get up in the middle of class in front of all these other parents and dance around and play with the kids," Parker said.
She had the ability to connect to people both young and old.
"She could look at a child without missing a beat, say their name, smile, wink at them," said Parker.
"She was definitely one of a kind," Arnold said.
Anyone who came into the toy store knew who she was. They knew her laugh, they knew her smile, and they knew the warmth that radiated from Gentry every day.
"She's the heart and soul of this store," Parker said.
Sadly, a fatal car accident took Gentry away from those who loved and adored her, including her husband and two children, ages 5 and 7.
"It's devastating. My heart was so heavy for her family and her children especially," Arnold said.
Since the accident there has been an outpouring of support and sympathies. On Facebook there have been testimonies of people who were inspired by Gentry every day.
"Incredible woman that was taken way too soon," said Arnold.
Through e-mail, there are fond memories of the time spent with a woman whom they all knew as Miss Crystal.
"I just hope that her family knows the lives that she touched on a regular basis," Arnold said.
One e-mail message reads, "We always sang the goodbye song at the end of class. She included herself & would say, 'It's time to say goodbye to our friend Crystal, bye-bye Crystal'. Who would have thought that it would be the last goodbye."
There is a memorial fund that has been set up at Empire Bank under the Crystal Gentry Memorial Fund. Gold Minds is also donating a portion of their proceeds from now until Feb. 20.
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