Flori Flora Montante, 85, retired teacher and the Pacific Northwest's icon in Philippine culture, died January 8 after a lengthy illness. Born December 17, 1927, in Naguilian, LaUnion, Philippines to Santiago (James) Vergara Montante and Felipa Alcantara Flora Montante. A graduate of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, she began her teaching career which included many years in Baguio. After immigrating to the U.S in 1968 she taught in Seattle parochial and public elementary schools for 36 years. This beautiful, stylish woman was also active in the Filipino American community.

In 1986, she co-founded and was the moving force of the Filipino Cultural Heritage Society of Washington which has sponsored Pagdiriwang, the Philippine Independence commemoration in the Seattle Center since 1987. Her love of music led Flori to create the Baranggay Chorale in Seattle. Because of her untiring work in promoting Philippine culture she received many civic, school and community awards, including those from Citizens for Excellence in Education, Ethnic Cultural Heritage Council and the 2012 Pinoy Reporter Tagumpay Award in Lifetime Achievement. She was a member of Filipino Youth Activities, Filipino American National Historical Society and a lifelong supporter of the Girl Scouts.

Preceded in death by her parents, her survivors include her son, Alvin Montante with his wife, Tess, and two grandchildren, Julian and Elena, all of Seattle; and a large extended family of Montante and Flora relatives.

Rosary will be said at 7 p.m. Friday, January 11, in Evergreen-Washelli Funeral Home. Mass will celebrate her life at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 12, in Immaculate Conception Church, 820 18th Ave., Seattle. Burial will be in Naguilian, Philippines.

Published in The Seattle Times from Jan. 10 to Jan. 11, 2013