Richard “Dick” Lee Montgomery was born in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island on Feb. 15, 1920. When wished a good night on Christmas Day, 2014, he said with a twinkle in his eye, “If I’m not here in the morning, I’ll see you in heaven.” He started his new life in heaven on Dec. 26, 2014. He was nearly 95.
He was the fourth of five sons (Bill, Jack, Don, Dick and Pat) born to Joseph Ray Montgomery and May Cecil Schlott and raised on a vegetable farm on Orcas Island. The family “car” was a flat-bed truck used to get vegetables to market. On Sundays, hay bales served as seating for the family and many others that they picked up on the way to church.
After a short time at Seattle Pacific College, Dick married Mary Florence Sims in Los Angeles on July 18, 1941. He drove truck for Sparklett’s Water. Dick and Mary had two daughters, Dorothy Sharon and Mary Katherine, while they lived in California. They were active in the Montecito Park Union Church and used a tiny pump organ to perform church services on board ship for sailors.
In 1956, the family moved to Orcas Island where Dick worked as a truck driver, and later, in construction. He also served as music director and youth leader at the Orcas Island Community Church. They bought one of the oldest homes on the island, now Ship’s Bay Restaurant, and gradually restored it. It became the center for many celebrations for family and church. They hosted many missionary families and were able to visit several in the countries in which they worked. Dick was able to assist them in construction projects.
In 1966 Dick and Mary moved to the Mount Vernon area, which would be their home for the next 35 years. They were active in College Way Baptist church, and always had a warm and welcoming home for family and friends with rousing games of Skip-Bo, Dominoes and Donkey. Dick provided 24/7 care for his wife Mary in her final years. When Mary died in 2002, Dick returned to Orcas Island to live on Montgomery Lane near his brothers Bill and Don.
These last five years – in his 90s – Dick lived in Marysville near his daughter Kathy who came every day to visit with him and read “The Daily Bread.” Although unable to see, hear or walk well in his last years, he remained his friendly and humorous self. In one of his last hospital stays, he listened to the list of his maladies and then commented: “might as well take me out and shoot me.” That triggered a suicide watch until the medical folks realized he had been using that phrase, along with his dead-pan humor, for years.
Dick loved Jesus and was ready for the joys of heaven. His last Christmas letter ended with: “My Christmas Hope remains in Jesus: ‘We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure,’ (Heb 6:19) and ‘When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we will sing and shout the victory.’ Merry Christmas … and God’s Blessed Hope to each of you for 2015.”
Dick was preceded in death by his wife Mary and each of his brothers. He is survived by his daughter Dorothy (and Chuck) Tucker of Tacoma, Wash., and his daughter Kathy (and Larry) Nyland of Marysville, Wash. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Loren (and Sue) Tucker from Puyallup; Cheryl (and Adrian) Mingo in Nicaragua; Krysti (and Erik) Hall from University Place; Kirk Nyland in Saudi Arabia, and 11 great-grandchildren.
Memorials can be sent to: Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF of WA State – for Skagit County; PO Box 561; Yakima WA 98907); Or Energes Mission International (1659 State Hwy 46 West, Suite 115 #409, New Braunfels, TX 78132). Memorial service at a later date.