Beekeeper Steve Gentry Passes Away

(Contributed Photo)
Steve Gentry

    A familiar and friendly face at the Orinda Farmers’ Market and the Wagner Valley Nature Area, Orinda resident and beekeeper Steve Gentry passed away in January at the age of 73.
    Known as the “Beeman,” Gentry educated thousands of people about the importance of these little creatures to the survival of our environment. “Without bees, the world would be a very different place,” he said.
    A descendent of many generations of local farmers (his family has lived in Orinda since 1870), Gentry saw first-hand the role of bees in agriculture. The recipient of The Orinda Association’s William Penn Mott, Jr. Environmental Award in 2008, Gentry sold products under the label Steve’s Bees in farmers’ markets in San Ramon, Walnut Creek and Orinda.
    He loved to educate people, particularly students, on the benefits of local honey and often spoke at garden and Rotary clubs, even taking live beehives to elementary schools.
    Gentry began volunteering at the Wagner Ranch Nature Area in 1990 and supervised the planting of more than 34 trees, built drip irrigation systems, coordinated volunteers and helped start Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area. He could often be seen at the Orinda Farmers’ Market and at the annual Olive Festival at the Wagner Ranch Nature Area rewarding children with honey sticks for various activities.

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