Dr. Peter C. Gent, age 78, of Powhatan, VA passed away on Tuesday, October 17, 2023, at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Midlothian, VA after a very brief illness. As recently as Friday prior, he was providing medical care for his patients. He will be sadly missed by his family, friends, and patients.
He is preceded in death by his parents George and “Toni” Gent, and his son Brian. He is survived by his wife Marian, son Justin (Jenny), stepdaughter Sarah Werner-Ellis (Brad), brother Michael (Cheryl), and sister Diana Zak. His legacy will continue to live on through his grandchildren Austin (Hailey), Logan, Morgan, Briggs, and Erin; and great-grandson Elliot.
Dr. Gent had a holistic approach to his patients’ health and provided a better quality of life for countless people. He was patient but determined, a good listener but loved a good argument, had a humorous outlook and a flair for style, and could fix anything. His early interests in drawing, painting, and model building provided a foundation for the well-thought-out and beautiful architectural designs he executed in his Midlothian medical building and his beloved home in Powhatan. Peter was a hard worker who gave full attention to the task at hand and kept at it until every detail had been accomplished, except for that pesky table lamp. He was the family genealogist and lovingly created memory books for family members. He was an avid reader, followed current news, and appreciated art, architecture, music, history, and Irish culture. He loved sailboating and restored an antique inboard Shamrock motorboat. Other hobbies included photography, skiing, organic gardening, and restoring classic cars.
Peter was born on December 19, 1944, when his father was stationed at the Huntsville Arsenal in Alabama. After the war, they moved to Pennsylvania in several locations before settling in Berwyn where Peter graduated from Conestoga Senior High School, then attended The Peddie School in New Jersey.
As a youth, Peter was active in the Boy Scouts and enjoyed summer visits to his grandparents’ fruit farm in Michigan. As a teenager, he was a founder of an amateur movie group in Pittsburgh producing western, Civil War, WW2, and spy films. He was a stage crew member at the Valley Forge Music Fair. Peter played the guitar and banjo, performing folk music in coffee houses.
At the age of 18, Peter sold all of his belongings, bought a motorcycle, and toured England, The Netherlands, and Germany. Upon his return, he joined the US Air Force and was stationed in Alaska.
Peter graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in German literature. He lived in Harrisburg while working as a pharmaceutical sales rep. In the 1970s, he bought a large Victorian fixer-upper near Philadelphia, renovated it into apartments, and rented them to students to fund medical school tuition. Following graduation from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1979, Dr. Gent opened the first osteopathic family medical practice in Midlothian, in what had been the original Swift Creek Elementary School built around 1900, then moved the practice in 1999 to its current location.
Peter married Marian Siedlarczyk Werner in 1990 when they started life together in a new home in Midlothian as a blended family with three children. He designed and built their dream home, inspired by French country architecture, on Stavemill Lake in Powhatan where they have lived for 20 years. He created a large organic garden, kept bees, and loved communing with nature.
He was a proud member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and served as Commander of Flotilla 35 in Richmond. He retired after 20 years of service.
The family would like to give heartfelt thanks to the staff at the Johnston-Willis Emergency Department, Amedisys Hospice, and Affinity Funeral Service for their care and support.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at Affinity Funeral Service, 2720 Enterprise Parkway, Richmond, VA. Family visitation will begin at noon, followed by the service at 1:00 p.m. Burial will be private at the Virginia Veterans’ Cemetery in Amelia.
Donations may be made to the Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association Scholarship Fund, 1403 Pemberton Rd, Richmond, VA 23238. www.voma-net.org