Wayne Montgomery was born March 10, 1930 and received his call to come HOME on July 24, 2019 at the age of 89. His parents were Bruce and Grace Montgomery of Boise, Idaho, and Boise is where he was raised with his six siblings.
Wayne grew up during the Great Depression and even as a child worked along with his family to help make ends meet. He found odd jobs such as setting bowling ball pins in a bowling alley and pulling weeds in the garden of a Chinese restaurant. At the age of 13 he dug by hand a septic system and drain field so his family could have an indoor bathroom in the house they built from used lumber and nails that had to be straightened. But life wasn’t all work for Wayne. He loved running and biking, even though his access to the bike was limited as he shared one bike with all of his siblings.
At an early age the outdoors called to him. He managed to run off to the irrigation ditch to swim, or climb trees to find baby birds, and go on all kinds of exploring expeditions. He loved the outdoors to the neglect of his chores, but his mother put an end to his roaming when she took away his clothes and made him wear a dress until he learned a stay-at-home lesson. Wayne’s love of the outdoors continued throughout his life as he fished, hunted and camped every chance he got.
He dropped out of high school during his junior year and joined the Navy. He spent most of his six-year navy career on the seas during the Korean War. On the USS Iowa he was a gunner, shooting down Russian aircraft. During a conflict an enemy plane targeted his ship and his legs were severely damaged by flying shrapnel. He was flown to the Oakland naval base in California where he spent the next year regaining use of his legs. He was given a medical discharge with a 60% disability.
He married, had three sons, and worked hard as a common laborer. 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. Working at odd jobs evenings to support his family, he attended Boise Junior College and graduated from the College of Idaho with a degree in education and 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 that he went from being a high school drop-out, to a principal with a master’s degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He had many stories to tell about his principal days, including being threatened at gunpoint, and spending the night at a school to catch a person who had been smashing windows. When he was principal in smaller schools he wore many hats. He multitasked as principal, cheerleader advisor, coach, school bus driver, and hot lunch director. He set up ping pong tables in one school and challenged the kids to beat him in a game of ping pong during lunch hour. His students loved him and many of them came to his office for counsel. He was passionate in encouraging them to get a good education.
He took evening Bible classes and was an ordained minister. When he was the principal at Smith Valley, Nev., on the side he pastored for three years a church he started.
Wayne 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 at the age of 70, he retired and settled down to retired life in the log home he built on Clear Creek near Kooskia. In 2004 Carolyn died. Four years later he married a long-time friend, Elayne. Her grown children Lori, Melody, David and Darla took him as their dad and he loved them as his own. He was married to Elayne for 11 happy years.
Wayne will be remembered for many reasons, the most important one being his unshakable faith in God and his love of people, especially young people. He will be remembered for the funny and interesting stories he told. We will remember how he blessed many with financial sup-port and help in various ways. And most certainly he will be remembered for his spontaneous songs and whistling a happy tune. He was unfailingly generous, funny, cheerful, steady, encouraging, kind and loving with a fathers’ heart. He was rock-solid in character and integrity. His friends and family are very grateful for the time they got to spend with this wonderful man.