Wayne Montgomery of Kamiah received his call to come home Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at the age of 89.
He was born March 10, 1930, to Bruce and Grace Montgomery, and he along with his six siblings were raised in Boise.
He knew the rigors of life during the Great Depression, and even as a child he worked along with his family doing odd jobs to help make ends meet.
He dropped out of high school during his junior year and joined the U.S. Navy. He spent most of his Navy career at sea during the Korean War. On the USS Iowa, he was a gunner, shooting down Russian aircraft. During a scrimmage, his ship was slightly hit and his legs were severely injured from flying shrapnel. He was flown to the Oakland, Calif., naval hospital, where he spent several months regaining the use of his legs. He was given a medical discharge with a 60 percent disability.
He married his first wife, Jean, had three sons and worked hard to support his family. It was the difficult job of hauling concrete in a wheelbarrow that made him decide to go back to school to get a college degree. He attended Boise Junior College and transferred to College of Idaho, where he graduated with a degree in education with a minor in chemistry.
He began a long and varied career path which included teaching high school chemistry, working as a buyer for Albertsons and working as a research scientist in the missile fuel industry. His primary job was being a high school principal for 27 years, including three years at Kamiah and seven years at Cottonwood Prairie High School.
Wayne was proud of the fact he went from being a high school dropout to a principal with a master’s degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He stressed the importance of getting a good education to the many students who came through his door for counsel.
He was married to his second wife, Carolyn, for 31 years. He raised her two little boys, Tony and Damon, along with their son Shane. In 2000, he retired to the log home he had built on Clear Creek near Kooskia. Four years later, Carolyn died. In 2008, he married a longtime friend, Elayne. Her grown children, Lori, Melody, David and Darla took him as their dad and he loved them as his own. He and Elayne lived along the Clearwater River in her remodeled home for 11 happy years.
Wayne will be remembered for many reasons, the most important being his strong faith in God and his love of people, especially young people. He will be remembered for his funny and interesting stories of his principal days and of his lifelong pursuit of the outdoors and his many adventures hunting, fishing, camping and raising horses. We will remember how he blessed many financially. And most certainly he will be remembered for his spontaneous songs and whistling. He was unfailingly generous, funny, encouraging, kind and loving with a father’s heart, He was rock-solid in character and integrity. His family and friends are grateful for the time they got to spend with this wonderful man.
A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Life Center near Kamiah.