Rose Garden PhotographsAnna “Duke” (Lewis) Gentry was born January 7, 1887, in Gunnison, Colorado, the daughter of Agnes Ann (Brown) and Dr. Wilbur Wright Lewis. She came to Prescott in 1889 when she was two years old. Duke's family lived with Judge Brooks until their home was built. On September 2, 1903, the Weekly Arizona Journal Miner reported: “Dr. W. W. Lewis left this morning with his daughter, Miss Duke Lewis, for New York, where the latter will remain for a couple of years attending school.”

Duke went to Barnard College in New York and entered nurses' training in Santa Fe. She worked as a nurse and schoolteacher in Prescott. She had learned a great deal from her father, who in addition to being a doctor was also a mining engineer.  Duke was active in Prescott's earliest social club for women - "Red Lids."

On September 11, 1912, she married Charles Elmer "Brownie" Gentry in Prescott at the family residence, 116 Garden Street. He was a pharmacist who became a Yavapai County Assessor. They had four daughters: Florence Edna Gifford (born September 4, 1913), Mildred Roma "Jim" Duquette (born July 9, 1915), Dorothy Leona Post (born November 13, 1918), and Virginia Leigh Jones (born June 23, 1923).

"Brownie" died January 30, 1930, but Duke stayed in Prescott to educate her children through high school and college. When the 1940 census was taken, Duke’s eighty-five year old mother, Agnes Lewis, was living with the family.  Duke was a charter member of the Lady Elks. She was chairman of the Works Progress Administration sewing room and helped many untrained persons to hold their jobs and support their families during the Great Depression. She was a tower of strength to her family--even her grandchildren heeded her loving advice.

"Mama Duke" and her silent ways were loved by many for many reasons: sincerity, understanding, courage, wisdom--even for her hash and hot biscuits. Her home at 527 W. Gurley was an open house to anyone seeking conversation, food, warm cups of coffee or chocolate, and even solace.  "When in doubt," she advised, "follow your heart and not your mind. When you make a mistake of the heart, you don't feel so bad."

Duke died "gently and with all the dignity that had marked her living" on December 18, 1964. She was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

Donor: Orville & Cappy Bozarth
Photo Located: PB-4, F-77-169, I-489
Updated: 11/18/2015, D. Sue Kissel