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Gentges Family collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 18.0014

Scope and Contents

This collection relates to Staff Sergeant Charles R. Gentges who served with the 34th Infantry Division in the North African and Italian campaigns during World War II. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Bronze Star Medal. The collection also relates Charles R. Gentges' wife Florence, and daughter, Mary Elizabeth Gentges.


  • Creation: 1937-2018
  • Other: Date accessioned: 2018-05-07


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Charles R. Gentges was born on February 12, 1918, in Farmington, Missouri. Prior to his enlistment in April of 1941, he worked as a laundry foreman who enjoyed classical music and writing. At the age of 23 the Selective Service Act of September 1940 required him to enlist. By April 1941 he was training at Camp Claiborne in Louisiana where he became a rifleman and staff sergeant for the Infantry’s 113th Regiment in the 34th Infantry Division nicknamed “Red Bull Division." From February 1942 to October 1944 he served in the European African Middle Eastern Theatre in the Tunisian Campaign, Rome-Arno campaign, and North Apennines Campaign. His service ended abruptly on October 19, 1944 in Cecina, Italy when he received a gunshot wound which broke his femur, for which he was awarded his third Purple Heart Medal. Aside from Purple Heart, Gentges was also awarded a Bronze Star Medal, 5 overseas service bars, one three-year service stripe, a combat infantry badge, an American defense service ribbon, and maintained good conduct throughout his service. The details of his service can be found in his memoir compiled by his daughter in 2001 and contained in the collection.

It is evident in Gentges memoirs, diary entries, and letters that he is a devout Catholic. He attended mass in both England and Ireland where he observed the Catholic/Protestant controversy and was particularly impressed with the religiosity of Ireland. When serving in Italy, he visited Rome twice where the Pope blessed his rosary. Later, Gentges became a member of the Society for the Propagation of Faith and wrote a letter to the society saying that he detested his destructive job, especially as a man of god, but understood his duty to his country. Gentges wrote “at present I’m in the hospital with a battle injury. Soon I must return with rifle in hand to the job I detest. A man has a duty toward his country. Thus I attempt to do the best my poor abilities as a soldier will permit. Otherwise I leave everything else to whatever God wills”.

After officially leaving the service in August of 1945, Gentges married Florence Schwartz whom he had known since a youth on October 27, 1945 in their hometown of Farmington, Missouri. Beginning as childhood friends, Gentges admitted that once he had never had feelings for Florence, but through their letters during his service he realized his feelings for her. From then they were set to get married upon his return to the United States. Their relationship can be traced through their letters which have been copied and partially transcribed by their only daughter Mary Gentges. Charles R. Gentges passed away on February 13, 2006 and is buried along with his wife Florence and daugther Mary Elizabeth Gentges in Mount Calvary Cemetery, Saint Marys, Kansas, MO.


8 Linear Feet (14-1/2 boxes, 1-full box)

1 items (flag box)

Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Gentges Family collection
Aaron Morton, Tanner Christy, Eva Schore
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US