LAWRENCE — John Eldon Montgomery, of Lawrence, died Dec. 26, 2015. For 90 years he blessed those around him with his passion for living. John was born in Junction City on Aug. 3, 1925, the only child of Chris and Esther Oegerle Montgomery. John enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, prior to his graduation from high school in Junction City in 1943. He served in the Navy until April 14, 1946, and was the tail gunner on two aircraft carrier dive bombers. Taking part in such World War II operations as Wake Island, Truk Atoll, Saipan, and Iwo Jima, John experienced 327 carrier take-offs and 326 landings. At the end of the war, he was in the Philippine Islands, awaiting a possible allied invasion of Japan in a Normandy-like operation.
Following his discharge from the Navy, he attended Kansas State University and Kansas Wesleyan in Salina, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree. Later, he earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University. John began teaching in Junction City, where he married Patricia Jean Platt in 1954. They moved first to Limon, Colo., then to Great Bend in 1956, where John taught school at Roosevelt Junior High School until his retirement in 1989. He took great satisfaction in instructing students in drivers’ education courses and coaching a variety of athletic teams. In 2005, John and Patricia moved to Lawrence. Since retiring, John and Patricia enjoyed traveling and spent their winters in Mesa, Ariz., and summers in Estes Park, Colo.
John is survived by his wife, Patricia, of Lawrence; son, Steve (Jane), of Spring Hill; daughter Terri Schenkel (Steve), of Great Bend; and son, Chris (Margaret), of Richmond, Va.; as well as seven grandchildren.
John loved sports and reveled in the transformation of his beloved KSU Wildcat football team from doormat to national power. He and Patricia attended countless sporting events and cheered for their children and so many others during their many years in Great Bend. John’s distinct voice could be heard in the largest of crowds. He watched every pitch of the 2014 post-season run by the Kansas City Royals to the World Series. John never tired of telling how he sank a long putt or chipped in to win a coke from his golfing buddies. His love of golf was passed down from his father and on to John’s sons and grandsons. John was an avid reader and never content to accept others’ versions of history. He did his own research. John was strong and of an independent mind with clear opinions he would share, sometimes without invitation. He will be so missed. Jeezel Peezel!
A visitation will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Rumsey-Yost in Lawrence. Graveside services will be at Marion Cemetery at 1 p.m. on Monday. A memorial service will be held at the Great Bend First Congregational United Church of Christ at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the church/UCC Women’s Fellowship, 3400 21st Street, Great Bend, KS 67530; or to Midland Hospice, 200 S.W. Frazier Circle, Topeka, KS 66066. Online condolences may be made at rumsey-yost.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home & Crematory**
601 Indiana St.
P.O. Box 1260
Lawrence, KS. 66044
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Jan. 1, 2016