Lance M Gentry

Dear Friends & Family,

It is with great sorrow that we share with you that Lance has passed away. He died at home Friday night with his loved ones by his side.

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. Initially, Lance was overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love that flowed his way – from all corners of the world.  At times it was hard for him to take in.  In these final days, Lance seemed to be taking it all in.  We couldn’t take his journey for him, but he knew he wasn’t alone.

The peace on Lance’s face when he passed was a tribute to the state of grace he was in, surrendering with dignity and beauty.

Lance was a huge life-force, larger than life.  We know all of you have special remembrances of him.  In the coming weeks, will you please take the time to write down your memories of Lance for Zach and Amélie?  Please make these age appropriate for 9 year old Zach and 7 year old Amélie. These could be short and sweet or as long as you like: a story which makes you laugh, advice he gave you, the way he danced, his favorite music, a trip you took together, a special joke you shared, his outlook on life, his favorite books, something quirky that you remember. We plan to collect these memories of him and make a book for Amélie and Zachary to help them continue to know the unique, love-filled, crazy, gifted, thoughtful, caring, dynamic, professional, funny, fabulous man who is their father.

Please address them to Zach and Amélie and mail them home to 1830 Mariposa Ave, Boulder, CO 80302.

Lance’s body will be at the Shambhala Center in Boulder (in the main shrine room) starting today around 4pm, with a special ceremony on Sunday at 5pm for those who would like to participate. Friends are welcome to view and visit Lance during normal Shambhala hours.

A memorial to celebrate Lance’s life will be scheduled for the Fall and all are welcome to attend. We will notify everyone once the date has been set.

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.

Lovingly,

~Friends & Family

37 thoughts on “Lance M Gentry

  1. Although the sadness I feel right now is unbearable, I am also witnessing remarkable beauty, spirituality, kindness & compassion- a true testament of what Lance embodied!
    Love & Light,
    Gina Finney

  2. May the peace that passes all understanding shower you with the love he would have wanted all to know; may this peace and love persist and grow for all but especially his family and closest friends

  3. Have been thinking of nothing else but all of you. No words. Nothing but celebration for this amazing soul we were all honored to call friend.

    His spirit will live on in all of us and through all of you for all eternity.

    May the 4 winds blow him safely home.

    Wrapping our love around you all. for now and always.

  4. I was thinking of lance heavily last night and it struck me that a compilation of his favorite music should be made and tucked into this book that is being made for A&Z.

  5. I am so incredibly sad for your loss and the loss for everyone who knew Lance. He was a wonderful man with a great spirit and zest for life. My thoughts and prayers are with him and with your family. I will always remember him as a lover of life and people. He made a tremendous impact during his time with us on Earth. Much love.

  6. Lance and I were friends during college … And while our contact has been sporadic over the years I have always thought of him as someone dear to me. I cried when I heard that he had passed on … For you Nancy and your family and for the rest of us who have known him, laughed w him, loved him. He had such a beautiful spirit … Even as a young man. I will miss knowing he is out there just an email away.

  7. My heartfelt condolences to your entire family. Zach and Amélie had a better dad for their 7 and 9 years than most kids have for a lifetime. I didn’t really know Lance, but I’ll never forget when Zach invited Jayden to his Harry Potter birthday party and Lance was dressed in character, along with the rest of your family. I could see the love on his face for his kids whenever I saw him at Horizons events. I’ll never forget that “funky” hat they he always wore no matter what the temperature was. I always thought he must be a pretty funny guy! May your entire family fill the grace of God around you during this difficult time. Love, Julia Simisky

  8. Hi Nancy,

    I can only imagine the feelings of loss and grief you are experiencing now. My heart aches for you and your family.

    You spent the past 17 months doing all in your power to make Lance’s life as comfortable, healthy, reassured, positive, and supported as possible. You planned and cooked the healthiest possible meals, and posted recipes on your blog. (And here I had thought I was eating healthy meals!) You communicated to friends and family far and wide to keep everyone posted on how Lance and the family were doing. You encouraged him to go to Brazil (twice, I think). You pursued every avenue of healing you could think of, to prolong his life and let him feel the full power of your love.

    Your mother Sue has been there for you all the way, always ready to travel to be with you, helping you financially, giving you emotional support. She makes me proud to be her brother! (And let me assure you, HER mother was nothing like that!)

    Sending you healing energy in this time of grief. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    XXOOXXOO,

    Greg

  9. My heart, one that has only come to know the Gentry family though this heroic journey of the last 17 months, is broken with the news of Lance’s passing. But what you have done to inspire others to live life more fully through this epic story of hope, positivity, and unending love is truly inspirational. I thank you Nancy and Lance for sharing your most intimate story with us all that do not know you as close friends, you have taught me an invaluable set of skills as wife and mother through your incredible story alone. The depth of the loving and living, in this world and next, that characterizes your family is what we all strive for. Thank you. Strength and prayers continue to be sent your way.

    Lisa Cooper

  10. Nancy and family – My heart is so heavy for all of you. Like the person above, it is clear Nancy that you took extremely good care of Lance during the last 17 months. You should be proud. I am certain that your love, strength and conviction made every difference in the world! I have many, many memories of Lance, and during the last couple of days, I’ve been trying to compose a letter to the kids like the one requested. I think it’s a terrific idea. I will be more than happy to contribute in whatever humble way I can. With deep saddness,

  11. Nance,

    You and your family are in my heart and on my mind. You have been an incredible beacon of hope, love and healing during this journey and all the while keeping it real, you are the true expression of a loving wife and mother. Lance was nothing short of amazing and I feel thankful I had the chance to know and love him.

    Sending you so much love-

    xoxo Sherri

  12. I went and saw Lance today around 1:00. I have to thank you for that moment. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got was some time alone with this life force, and though it was clear that the life had moved on, the force still lived in the room, and sitting there was intense and personal. Thank you. I hope you continue to share your story.

    Love to all of you!
    Crissy

  13. Moving, powerful, funny, sad and beautiful ceremony today. Lance was, and is, an admired and loved person. We should all strive to leave behind the legacy he leaves. It was an honor to know him… and to have had so many hard laughs with him.

  14. Nancy
    I can not tell you how deeply sad that you have lost your best friend and husband and your light and love and I hope that in the days to come that you find some peace knowing that you guys made a beautiful life together and have two beautiful children and that you have a path to follow that was designed by both you and Lance and that his spirit will never leave you and will always be there to guide you and comfort you when you get off track
    No you can’t see him but he is there walking right beside you
    You will see him in the eyes of your children and the eyes of all who loved him and you will one day perhaps a long time from now you will smile and laugh because something will be SO Lance
    The lost is deeper than deep and he was bigger than life so the pain is as deep as the earth and more than you can endure but your love and your family and friends love will pull you through day by day and lance will be with you in your heart every step of the way every single step
    I thought about him all weekend and I am gathering my story about him for The kids
    I wish I could be there to hug you and help you in any way that I can
    You are an inspiration
    Truly
    Lots of love and hugs
    Oxx
    Susan

  15. Nance I do not know what to write. I loved that wonderful husband of yours and still do. I will miss him. I just want you to know that you and your family are in my heart and in my thoughts. I send you love. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you feel.
    x Melissa

  16. Darling Nancy,
    You and Lance have shared your love and inspiration with so many of us. I’m sure that this site has built a community of people who kiss more and hug for longer. All of that love is for you now my darling. Swathe yourself, and your beautiful children in it. You are amazing Nance, and Lance will have known the greatest love.

    Our arms are around you,

    Helen & Jamie xxxxxx

  17. nancy my mystery friend, I cried as though I knew him and as though I knew you. Perhaps it is because of the heart that both of you dwell in- that we all have shared with you- because you have shared so generously. I hope you know that it has been a blessing for so many of us to have been allowed to be with you on your journey. And right now none of that matters- you only want him back. In your longing for him you will always be able to feel him. I love you. I hope we can meet some day. shana

  18. Nancy,

    I am so sorry to hear this news. I love you + I love Lance. At one time I wanted to clone him for myself as I knew there was not a better person out there. Now I wish I could give him back to you. You two were truly soul mates and an inspiration to all.
    I love you my friend of 40 years.

  19. This came to me online today and it seems appropriate to share:
    “We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know God’s plan for us.

    What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and love, and joy.
    We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and
    treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves.
    We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures.
    And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday,
    if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well;
    that we made a difference;
    that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of other human beings. ”

    -Barack Obama

  20. I can not stem the tears, and I’m not sure why. I know I’m so awed that you and Lance took the path to healing and hope. It seemed your priorities focused on the family as much as Lance’s need for answers. His questions are ones we are all faced with, mind, body and soul. How fortunate he was to have the support and love to take those risks, grab onto those opportunities. How fortunate we are that you chose to share the journey with us. My loving thought cross the miles to you all.

  21. Dear family and loved ones of Lance

    Thank you for the beautiful letter. There are no words to express the feelings of loss here – it is immense.

    I am ten steps (or more!) removed from your immediate circle of family and friends but I have been participating in the blog since its inception (and the caring bridge site before that) and following this journey along side you all – hoping and hoping and hoping and listening and opening my heart to you all. My son Noah has been a classmate of Amelie’s at Horizons both in kindergarten and first grade. My husband Sam got to spend a few days with Lance building a wheelchair access ramp for another kinder classmate’s mom about two and a half years ago. I feel a need to place myself within the context of this network of family and friends as a way of saying thank you for letting me participate though I am quite outside the core.

    What a journey this has all been indeed. As mentioned above by others, I am so humbled and in awe of all you have shared with us throughout this past 17 months. You could have sealed yourselves off, turned inwards, felt bitter, but instead, you chose to open your arms to all that would take them and include us for the ride. To give a few word of thanks at this time seems strange and yet it is how I feel – grateful for your willingness to allow us to take part in whatever way possible – to feel a sense of being able to offer help, to laugh and cry and dream and LEARN and LOVE with you, to be able to offer words of comfort from near and far. To feel a little less helpless amidst the order of things. To understand the gift of NOW and the moment and to try to embrace each and every one for what it IS and not what isn’t. To love one another for who we are in the moment, from the heart.

    I spent the last few days re-reading all of the posts and responses in this blog. A testament of your strength and courage and BIG HUGE LOVE, Nancy. To say that you are an incredible person is an understatement. Words from the soul from both you and Lance. Amazing contributions from all over the planet (and probably some from beyond too). Life is a gift – miraculous, maddening, fragile, strong, crazy, amazing and everything in between. What you have ALL offered has given new meaning to my life (at least) and I can probably say with great certainty that this extends to many, many more.

    My deep sense of gratitude to you and your family, Nancy, for enabling us to feel empowered to help in some little way. This journey is not over, Lance’s voice is not silenced… we are all still here in spirit from near and far and ready to surround you and your family, Nancy. So please reach out when you need a hand.

    With love,

    Becca

  22. In reading these comments I have really come to realize how much your sharing this journey with us has helped me throughout this year. In January we lost a friend of my daughters, a 13 year old boy, to a skiing accident. So many of my talks with my daughter have included sentiments that were in my mind because of this journal. Because we don’t have any firm religious beliefs about heaven or afterlife, it was hard to have answers for her that didn’t feel disingenuous. But what we talked about was the importance of living fully every moment. We talked about what a gift his life was to us, and how we get to carry that gift with us until it is our time. About the same time that Lance discovered his tumor, my Mother in Law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is still fighting, but the end is nearing. Her journey has been decidedly less spiritual than yours, but through this journal I have been able to have discussions with my husband that have helped him see her journey through his own spiritual lens. He has been decidedly present for her, and for himself. And presence is not his strong suit! I just want to share these things with you to let you know specifically how this sharing has been so important in my life, and from the comments here, the lives of so many others. Lance has left a legacy of love and reflection.

    Crissy

  23. I have lost my father when I was two years old, no memory of him, of his face, his voice, nothing; they told me he was in the sky and I imagined him flying around like a big bird (I often dream of me flying). I had a really vague idea of him, just a couple of anecdotes from my mother, an external feeling, I was on earth, he was in the sky.

    I was once in Paris, at twenty-five, you know that when you are abroad your feelings are deeper; at night, in my room, I felt him for the first time, he wasn’t outside, he was inside me, he was part of me, he had been there for all my life and I didn’t realize it. I’m sure he will be always with me because he is me, I see him my son Noè, and I will feel him in the baby that will arrive in september.
    Dear Amelie, Zac and Nancy, Lance is part of you
    ciao Lance, buon viaggio

  24. Dear Nancy,

    I have been wanting to comment on this site since you began it. You are an amazing person. I have always felt that. Although I don’t know you well, and I did not know Lance, somehow I have always felt a connection. After I cooked for you, I had one conversation with Lance, and what I felt from him was pure gratitude and humility. I have spent years trying to align my heart with truth, and here was this man who was completely in his heart, and his light just shined out. I was so struck by that, and by all of the ways you two supported your family with laughter and joy and food and travel and pure love. I am so inspired by you, and grateful to have been there last night. I send you my heart’s prayer for peace. What a gift you are. Thank you for your incredible example.
    Love,
    Staci

  25. Read the obituary in the camera and wanted to offer my condolences. Looks like a wonderful family. Peace be with you.

  26. Lance was a truly unique and original soul who made a large impact on my life. I will always feel blessed and thankful. I have such fond memories of our youth and the times we shared. I remember him fondly without shoes… …in public buildings. He brings such positive feelings whenever I recall them that I always find myself smiling even if presently there are tears. His infectious smile and that grin along with his sense of humor and wit made some of my difficulties in life better. He helped to show me how to put things into perspective and I will always be grateful. He took me in when I needed it and he and his wonderful mom always treated me like family. He brought me out to Colorado and helped opened my views on my own life. He shared his friends with me and his time, along with his car and practically anything and everything else. He opened up a space in his life for me. He even introduced me to sprouts, go figure. I feel he saw in me what I could not see at those times. Years later when we reconnected I was pleased to see that he was still making the world a better place with his talents and love. When he became sick, I saw the support of those around him. Through such trials he turned to love and his writings and sharing once again touched and influenced those around him. From warriorship to happiness and sugar I was reminded of this incredible, genuine guy. Through this blog and skype I also learned about his wife, (another great writer) and beautiful family. I loved him and will miss him very much.

    My deepest condolences and love go out to you and your family and all of those touched by Lance,

    Doug

  27. I only have one story about Lance. In spring 2011, I was leaving my OB’s office with my two kids. I was hugely pregnant with twins, and I was leaning against the rail at the back of a large elevator. When the doors slid open, Lance was standing there. My boys sprinted out but it took me a few minutes to cross the elevator. Lance must have been in treatment – his hair was all patchy – but he stood there patiently and put his hand on the elevator door to stop it from sliding shut before I got out. He smiled at me, this huge, genuine smile that made him look just as stunningly handsome as he does in this golden picture, and I got a little flash of what an amazing heart lay within.

    I keep trying to understand this enormous sense of loss I feel, despite not really knowing him. And I’ve concluded that his life was such a thing of beauty – as reflected in these posts and all the comments and his family and the million little kindnesses like the one I’ve described – that world just seems more drab without him in it. I am so deeply sorry for you and your family.

  28. Lance was a hardcore friend. I use that word because beyond just being a friend who would listen to me and laugh with me, he went the extra mile: he supported me; literally. I was a struggling artist piecing together a meager existence and upon hearing that I was going to move in with some friends and fashion some sort of living quarters in their basement, he promptly put his tools in his truck came over and within hours built me a room (sub-flooring and walls.) He made my home. He also employed me whenever he could. I worked for him ad-hoc when he worked for a software company in the Bay Area; in fact he also employed my hosue-mate. More recently when I was , yet again, unemployed he recognized that I would be a good fit for his marketing team when he worked for Izze. He was an awesome, supportive boss and an even better friend. He was always reliable, always interested in what I was up to creatively and actively a fan of my artistic expression. My experiences of hanging with Lance and Nancy were just as precious as when it was just he and I. Such a genuine love. Nancy, I know I told you this when I visited, but my time with the Gentry’s last September was the most relaxing, healing time I’ve had in years. I’m still having a hard time believing he’s gone, but I do find solace and strength in knowing what having a friend like Lance has meant to me. It’s not that he was my best friend or even most intimate friend, but he certainly was a hardcore friend. Eventually I will come to terms with the fact that his physical self has left us, but I will never forget how good it feels when a hardcore Lance has my back. Peace to you my brother and all my love to Nancy, Zac, Amelie and the Gentry family.

  29. Just heard about this last night and regret not having kept in better touch. When I was a kid, I moved to Brighton, Michigan during middle school. Lance immediately made me feel welcome. He just had a great gift for letting people into his world and brightening everyone around him. A few years later I moved and really lost touch with people. 30 years later, I randomly saw him speak in Beaver Creek. I sat there and knew it was the same guy I had not seen in almost 30 years – not so much because of his looks, but because of his energy and the smile. The second he finished, he bolted straight to the back of the room to welcome me. Funny how you can recognize someone and just connect after 30 years like time had not passed. Let us never squander our opportunities to stay connected to those who brighten our lives.

    We wish the Gentry family the best journey possible.

  30. I am writing from Italy so I couldn’t send my stories to the address provided so I figured I would post them here. My thoughts and prayers are with you from all the way across the world at this difficult time. Lance was an amazing person who brought so many different things to so many different people. Words cannot describe how wonderful he truly was.

    Zach and Amélie,
    Your father was a wonderful man. I met him when I interned at Justin’s. His mother Barb, was my house mom in Gamma Phi Beta. She introduced us and from the very moment we met he had an impact on my life. He knew so much about so many different things in life. He was such a hard worker and always made coming into work enjoyable. Everyday I saw him I learned something new. He had an appreciation for life that is unexplainable. One day at work it was someone’s birthday and we bought them a giant chocolate cake and ice cream. Lance said he didn’t usually eat cake and ice cream but for her he would do it. He ate the biggest piece out of everyone and had chocolate all over his face and hands and the biggest smile I had ever seen. We all laughed and laughed and he promised us he would regret it later but it made him so very happy that very moment. This is how Lance lived his life. He always did things for others and lived in the moment. I will always remember Lance and how great of a person he was. His memory will live on forever.

  31. To Nancy and The Gentry Family, we can’t tell you guys how deeply saddened and sorry we are to hear of Lance’s passing. He taught me so much, and I don’t think he realized the impact he has made on me( and continues to make) . I am really blessed that I got to speak with him recently and I will always keep him in my heart. All our love, Steve Simon and family

  32. Dear Gentry Family:

    Lance was a great business mentor to me, i wish I had gotten to know him on a more personal level. He always made time to help out anyway he could and i will miss him… He was very generous and my prayers are with you and your family and friends for your great loss. Lance always had a bright sparkle in his eyes anytime he mentioned his family.

  33. Dear Nancy,
    My deepest condolences to you, Zach, and Amelie. I just heard the news. I am now living in Paris, but I will be visiting Boulder in the fall. I hope to be able to attend a memorial service for Lance.
    In the meantime, I will record some memories of that amazing day in July, 2004 when I had the privilege of attending the birth of Amelie. I have never seen a more active, engaged, and loving partner than Lance. He knew just what to do to comfort and encourage you during the hours of labor. You both made it look easy. Thank you for allowing me to share in that special time.
    Love,
    Elaine

  34. Nancy – – my heart goes out to you and the kids. Sharing this difficuly journey so eloquently and with so many could not have been easy – but seeing the outpouring of emotion and kind words of sympathy on your blog is a testament to you that so many others care so much. God Speed Lance . . .

  35. Dear Nancy, I wish there was something I could say that would provide some comfort. Please know my whole family is thinking about you, Lance, and your beautiful children. It has been an honor that you shared this incredible journey with us through your blog and I thank you for letting me participate in a small way. Please know all the love, energy, prayers and healing is still there for you and your children. You are not alone and you are loved. I knew Lance from my first day at CU. I still remember the crazy chicken that he and Gregg left in a freezer over the summer. Of course only Lance would’ve had a chicken in the freezer, and the power shut off….and then have to remove the crazy, exploding chicken from said freezer after two months. There was never a dull moment around Lance! I can think of countless times during college where his mischevious smile lit up the room and we knew something fun would happen next. I will write some of my favorite memories and photos and send to Zach and Amelie. When Lance and I reconnected probably 6-7 years ago, it was your last day breast feeding Zach. I asked Lance about his wife (not having had much contact with him for awhile) and he emailed a link to photos of you with Zach. He was crazy in love with you and I was very touched at the very special relationship you two shared….I hope you can still feel his love all around you. I don’t believe he is far away and oh how I wish this had a different ending. I hope to meet you in person some day. I think of you often. Love, Kim

  36. Lance walked into our small residential Zen Center eighteen years ago with his infectious smile and gift of friendship, making us all happy. He set to work building bookshelves in his room which remain there today; and after he had left, came back to reconstruct the deck which hangs over the driveway. It also seems to be holding up pretty well.

    Our teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn—also known by his title, Soen Sa Nim—was a lively monk in his late sixties from South Korea. Soen Sa Nim had come to America two decades before to see if it was possible to teach Zen to Westerners and subsequently found himself teaching all over the world. During his visits, and he would spend a fair amount of time with us, he would often say, “There is no life, no death!” Lance thought Soen Sa Nim was cool.

    So in remembrance of Lance, here is some basic teaching of Soen Sa Nim’s, told in his first book, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, that can maybe help us in our sadness:

    A Child Asks About Death

    One evening, Katz, a black cat with a white-tipped tail who lived at the Cambridge Zen Center, died after a long illness. The seven-year-old daughter of one of Seung Sahn Soen-sa’s students was troubled by the death. After the burial and chanting to Amita Buddha, she went to Soen-sa for an interview.

    Soen-sa said, “Do you have any questions?

    Gita said, “Yes. What happened to Katzie? Where did he go?”

    Soen-sa said, “Where do you come from?”

    “From my mother’s belly.”

    “Where does your mother come from?”

    Gita was silent.

    Soen-sa said, “Everything in the world comes from the same one thing. It is like in a cookie factory. Many different kinds of cookies are made—lions, tigers, elephants, houses, people. They all have different shapes and different names, but they are all made from the same dough and they all taste the same. So all the different things that you see—a cat, a person, a tree, the sun, this floor—all these things are really the same.”

    “What are they?”

    “People give them many different names. But in themselves, they have no names. When you are thinking, all things have different names and different shapes. But when you are not thinking, all things are the same. There are no words for them. People make the words. A cat doesn’t say, ‘I am a cat.’ People say, ‘This is a cat.’ The sun doesn’t say, ‘My name is sun.’ People say, ‘This is the sun’ So when someone asks you, ‘What is this?’, how should you answer?

    “I shouldn’t use words.”

    Soen-sa said, “Very good! You shouldn’t use words. So if someone asks you, ‘What is Buddha?’, what would be a good answer?”

    Gita was silent.

    Soen-sa said, “Now you ask me.”

    “What is Buddha?”

    Soen-sa hit the floor.

    Gita laughed.

    Soen-sa said, “Now I ask you: What is Buddha?”

    Gita hit the floor.

    “What is God?”

    Gita hit the floor.

    “What is your mother?”

    Gita hit the floor.

    “What are you?”

    Gita hit the floor.

    “Very good! This is what all things in the world are made of. You and Buddha and God and your mother and the whole world are the same.”

    Gita smiled.

    Soen-sa said, “Do you have any more questions?”

    “You still haven’t told me where Katz went.”

    Soen-sa leaned over, looked into her eyes, and said, “You already understand.”

    Gita said, “Oh!” and hit the floor very hard. Then she laughed.

    Soen-sa said, “Very very good! That is how you should answer any question. That is the truth!”

    Gita bowed and left, as she was opening the door, she turned to Soen-sa and said, “But I’m not going to answer that way when I’m in school. I’m going to give regular answers!”

    Soen-sa laughed.

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