James R. Montgomery
SHREVEPORT, LA - Veteran journalist and civic activist James Ray "Jim" Montgomery, 67, died Saturday, January 12, 2013 after a six month battle with lung cancer. Services will be held at Brown Chapel, Centenary College of Louisiana at 11:00am Wednesday, January 16, 2013 followed by burial in Springhill Cemetery at 2:30pm. Visitation will be 4:00 to 6:30 Tuesday evening, January 15, 2013 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Marshall Street.
Born in Minden, Louisiana on June 7, 1945, he grew up in Springhill, and was a graduate of Centenary College. Jim began his journalism career as a newscaster and reporter with KTBS-TV, and in 1969 joined the staff of The Shreveport Times. Over the years, he was amusements editor, member of the paper's Enterprise Team, editorial writer, editorial page editor and managing editor. He then served as editor of the Journal Page when the former afternoon paper became a daily independent Op-Ed page in The Times. After serving as a grant writer for the City of Shreveport, Jim spent the last eight years as Executive Director of the Carolyn W. and Charles T. Beaird Family Foundation.
When Jim moved to Shreveport he served his adopted city in many ways, with the arts, theater and education as his special passions. His professional and personal contributions to the civic and cultural life of the area were recognized by the receipt of many awards, including from the Associated Press, United Press International, Gannett Corporation, the Louisiana Press Association, the Louisiana Bar Association and others, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize three times. He earned The Times Drama Award as Best Actor four times.
Among his proudest achievements was his work in helping save the historic Strand Theatre, along with his long association with the Red River Revel Arts Festival. He was a founding member of the River City Repertory Theatre, the area's only professional theater, and served as President of its Board of Directors. He served on the boards of the Philadelphia Center and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
The day Jim died, he was scheduled to attend the Krewe of Artemis-Springhill Grand Bal XI, where he was to announce attendees as they arrived, something he had done along with emceeing for many years. The krewe planned to surprise him with an announcement that he would be 2013 Main Street Parade Grand Marshal. When they learned he had died, they announced his death and named him parade marshal posthumously. He and his sister, the late Carole Castleberry, served as Artemis VI King and Queen.
In addition to Carole, Jim was predeceased by his parents, John Corben Montgomery and Edith Smith Montgomery, and is survived by several cousins of the Montgomery, Owen and Best families, his chosen family, many friends, and three goddaughters, Melody Kiper, Sarah Tooke Pittman and Trudy Tooke Baade.
Honoring Jim as pallbearers will be Randal Beach, John Beaird, Guy Benjamin, Lane Crockett, John Hill and Patric McWilliams. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Patricia Thatcher, Bert Aucoin Harris, and Virginia Shehee.
In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that those so desiring make a donation in Jim's honor to any of the many organizations to which he gave his time and talents.
Published in Shreveport Times from Jan. 15 to Jan. 16, 2013