Charles Donald Montgomery was born in Deer Harbor on May 1, 1918 to Ray and May Montgomery. He was welcomed by two big brothers, Bill and Jack, and later they welcomed two more brothers, Dick and Pat.
The boys grew up healthy and happy on Meadow Farm (now a wildlife preserve) where they worked hard to help their parents raise prize-winning produce. Their mother had a beautiful voice and loved to sing, so there was much music in the home.
Don attended school on the island, first in Deer Harbor and later in Eastsound. During this time, at the age of 15, he gave his heart and life to the Lord while attending camp at The Firs in Bellingham. He completed high school in three years and graduated as valedictorian of his class. He also participated in sports — basketball and track — and played the cornet.
After graduation he spent one year working on the farm with his family, then moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to live with an aunt and attend Brown’s Business College. From there he went to work for the Civilian Conservation Corps, then returned to college to complete his degree in electrical engineering. He first attended New Mexico state University in Las Cruces, where he joined the Presbyterian Church and was active in the youth group, Christian Endeavor, serving as president of the state association. He transferred to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he worked his way through college by driving for Strong-Thorne Mortuary.
World War II interrupted his graduation plans, and Don served his company as a chief engineer in the Merchant Marines.
Before leaving on his tour of duty, Don had been introduced to Rosa Bell by a mutual friend. During his first trip back from the South Pacific, Don and Rosa were married, on June 10, 1945. They immediately traveled to North Carolina, so Rosa could show Don off to her family. Her father’s response was: “Rosa, if you and Don ever get divorced, you just send him home to us!”
After the war, Don returned to New Mexico to finish his degree and, in the fall of that year, went to work for the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, where he worked for 15 years before transferring to Aero Jet General, in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he worked for seven years. He then returned to Los Alamos, where he worked until his retirement in 1982.
While Don Lived in Las Vegas, he joined the Gideon’s International and thoroughly enjoyed his 43-year association with them, serving in a variety of offices at the local and state levels. He was always alert to the opportunities to present personal Bibles to those he would meet. The last one he presented was to an 11 year old boy just four days before Don’s final trip to the hospital.
After Don’s retirement, he returned to his beloved Orcas Island. He continued his work with the Gideon’s, joined the Orcas Island Community Church where he sang in the choir, served as an Elder, and helped with the AWANA program. He also was on the Board of Directors for the Senior Services and drove the Senior van.
Don is survived by his wife of 60 years, Rosa; their daughter Robyn Myers and her husband Larry, of Neotsu, Ore., and three grandchildren: Ryan, Lauren and Ben; two brothers: Bill and Dick, of Eastsound,; a clutch of wonderful nieces and nephews, and a multitude of beloved friends.
A memorial service celebrating the lives of both Don and his brother Jack Montgomery will be held Saturday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. at the Orcas Island Community Church. Remembrances in Don’s honor should be made to the Gideon’s International; envelopes for this purpose are available at the Orcas Island Community Church.