Arch J. "Archie" Montgomery, 84, of Belleville, Ill., died Friday, April 18, 2014, at Memorial Hospital in Belleville, Ill., surrounded by family and friends.
Mr. Montgomery was inducted into the U.S. Navy on Oct. 2, 1950, serving as a Seabee on Guam from 1950 to 1952 and in San Diego from 1952 to 1954, working as a draftsman designing operational maneuver charts. After his discharge, he graduated from Missouri State University in 1957 with a teaching degree. His first teaching job was in the Weston, Mo., school system from 1957 to 1960. In 1960, he moved to Sullivan, Mo., where he taught until 1963. He then moved to teach general shop and drafting classes at Belleville West High School for 27 years. His students won many awards. In 1986, he was elected president of the Illinois Drafting Educators Association.
Arch was an avid photographer, heading up the Belleville West Photography Club for five years and working for four different photographers taking wedding pictures. He retired in 1990. Arch cherished all the precious years he was privileged to work with students who traveled through his classes into adulthood and the fellow teachers who were a strength to him through the 33 years of his service to the communities where he taught. He also served on the Central 104 School Board for 14 years.
Arch began preaching for the Church of Christ in 1964, filling in for different preachers in the area during his tenure as a high school teacher. In 1994, he began full-time preaching for the Church of Christ in House Springs, Mo., until 1997, at which time he and his wife began traveling missionary work. He worked with the Church of Christ in Versailles, Mo., until 2000, at which time he and his wife moved to Jerseyville, Ill., and he was full time minister for the Church of Christ. In 2003, he moved back to the Belleville area, and in 2005, he was appointed as an elder for the Greenmount Road Church of Christ, where he served until approximately one week before his death. His favorite scripture in the Word of God is found in Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." His prayer was that all religions throughout the world would take to heart Jesus' greatest desire, which was "that all may be one, as thou, Father art in Me, and I in thee that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." If everyone could set aside their man-made beliefs and doctrines and accept only the Word of God in how they worship and serve Him, there would not be all the religions of the world, but only one Church, being the one established on the day of Pentecost because then, and only then, will the world be taken for Christ. Arch was grateful to the Lord for giving him the opportunity to be able to do both the teaching in the public schools, preaching, and helping others wherever he found himself.
In his later years, Arch loved to ride around the neighborhood in his motorized wheelchair making friends all over the neighborhood. He dearly loved his church family and never met a stranger. He was blessed to have so many friends and often said that he wished his family was like the Waltons, "all living under the same roof!"
He was preceded in death by his mother, Thelma, nee Crumbaugh, Montgomery; his father, Archibald Alvern Montgomery; his stepmother, Ann, nee Louis, Montgomery; his two brothers, Billy Lee Montgomery and Murray Lewis; his son-in-law, Gary West; two aunts; an uncle; a nephew; and several cousins.
He will be missed by his wife of almost 62 years, Bonnie Montgomery; his daughter, Debbie West Stephens (Jerry) of Danville, Ind.; his son, Gordon Montgomery of St. Peters, Mo.; his six grandchildren, Laura West Bell (Anthony) of Dallas, Texas, Beth (Jon) Mitchell of Duncan, S.C., Jeremy West of Indianapolis, Ind., Stacy Stephens Hubner (Jon) of Danville, Ind., Shanna Montgomery Ramirez (Daniel) of Rolla, Mo., and Blake Montgomery of Wentzeville, Mo.; his four great-grandchildren, Kaylee Bell, Katie Mitchell, and Caden and Cassidy Hubner; his brother, George Lewis of Mo.; and several nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or Potters Children's Home.
In lieu of flowers, Arch would love to see his last wish fulfilled, to see that as many people as possible had an opportunity to read "Muscle and a Shovel" by Michael J. Shank. Checks may be made to Greenmount Road Church of Christ, notated for "Muscle and a Shovel" project. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.kasslyfuneral.com.
Visitation: Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at Kassly Mortuary, Fairview Heights, Ill.
Friends may also call from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at Greenmount Road Church of Christ, Belleville, Ill.
Funeral: Services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at Greenmount Road Church of Christ, Belleville, Ill., with Mike Mitchell and Jon Mitchell officiating. Interment will be at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.
KASSLY MORTUARY, Fairview Heights, Ill.
Kassly Mortuary, Ltd.
9900 St. Clair Avenue Fairview Heights, IL 62208
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Apr. 20, 2014