John R. Montgomery

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Montgomery, John R.

On August 13th 2012, John R. Montgomery died at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, New York following complications from a broken hip and pneumonia. John's death marks the end of a long and fascinating life that began February 2nd, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois where he was born to John Richard Montgomery, Sr. and Desire Dickson Montgomery. In Chicago, he spent his early childhood years enjoying the excitement of city life and often helped out with the care of his younger brother. Eventually his family moved to Sandwich Illinois, a small town outside Chicago, where his father became postmaster and his mother, a talented pianist, filled their home with music. A wide range of interests led John to explore many activities during his formative years including model building, camping, canoeing, fishing, music, sports, scouting, dancing and

especially reading. His young mind was eager to experience life and absorb as much information as possible. In 1943, just a year after finishing high school, John married the love of his life, Geraldine Jones and began his long and successful career in engineering. Although he never formally attended college, John went to night school and taught himself whatever he needed to advance his career, notably differential calculus. His first engineering successes came in Chicago, where he had moved his family and started the first of many businesses, this one to develop a streamlined method of Quartz Crystal polishing. This technology improved radio communications during WWII and allowed him to contribute to the war effort, even though health issues prevented him from serving in the military. His work brought him to the attention of Revere Camera where he became a nationally known expert in multi-track magnetic recording techniques and the integration of sound directly onto movie film, useful innovations for film makers and musicians, including electric guitar pioneer Les Paul. Word of his talents then led him to be hired by U.S. Time Corp who moved him and his family from a house in Sandwich, IL, formerly owned by his grandfather, to Waterbury, CT. Two years later, he accepted the position of Chief Engineer with Dictaphone Corp., and moved to Trumbull, CT where he and Gerrie settled down to raise their three sons and make many lifelong friends including Elaine and Olle Haggstrom, and John and Norma Nicholson. The entrepreneurial spirit struck again two years later when he started his fourth company, Product Development Services. For the next 20 years, he and his company created and improved products for over 200 clients including many Fortune 500 companies. John applied his ingenuity to a unique range of products ranging from special purpose copiers for the Patent Office, to AMF's first computerized bowling scoring system, portable dental offices which were parachuted into field hospitals during the Viet Nam war, and ground breaking monitoring and control systems for the electric utility industry. His family has lost count of the U.S. Patents he was awarded during his long career, but have recently found he is named on 11 patents for work he did in his seventies during his "retirement" years. John's brilliance was often masked by his mild manner and humility. Most people who met him would not immediately realize the depth of his knowledge or the extent of his achievements, but those who took their time with John, found a treasure trove of wonderful stories and amazing accomplishments. He will be remembered well for his uncommon gentleness, tenacious inner strength, keen & thoughtful mind, and of course, his sly humor. John's parting is a great loss to his family and friends though there is comfort in knowing he joins his beloved Gerrie who predeceased him in 2006. John is also predeceased by his parents; by his brother Robert and Robert's wife Marge; and by his sister-in-law Dona Jones. Surviving are his brother's children and their families, brother in-law Robert Jones and Robert & Dona's daughter Gerri Jones. Also surviving are John's eldest son Richard Montgomery, exdaughter-in-law Betsy Montgomery and their children & families; Amy and David Shannon and their children Erin and Kaitlin Shannon, Christopher and Amy Montgomery and their children Hannah and Lauren. Other survivors are middle son Dennis Montgomery, daughter-in-law Cindy Linton and their son Ian Montgomery; youngest son Douglas Montgomery, daughter-in-law Bonnie Montgomery, their son Spencer and daughter Morgan Frank, her husband Corey and their infant son Lucas. John had a knack for making friends wherever he went and this held true during his later years as he and Gerrie lived several years in Kentucky until Gerrie's death. Special thanks to his Kentucky friends Tim, Mary Lou and Hoyt for their warm welcome to the "Yankee's". All of their care and help during his time of loss, before moving to Ithaca New York to be closer to family, was a true blessing. He made several special friends while living in Ithaca at the Longview Senior Retirement Community, among them Ruth Davis, Joan Lee and Tom Creamer. At Ithaca's BeechTree Care Center, where he lived the last two years of his life, John became known once again for his love of reading as he convinced the staff there to wheel him in his wheelchair to the public library so he could secure a library card and check out books! Our thanks to all of the Beechtree staff for their willingness to go that extra distance for John. We also wish to thank Matt Gray who spent countless hours at Longview helping to edit and format a book of memoirs John wrote as an informal history of his branch of the Montgomery Family. Finally, we extend a most heartfelt thank you to Erin Quinn who enriched John's life tremendously with her incredible intuitiveness in providing personal care well beyond her professional duties for John both at Longview and BeechTree. A private graveside service for John will be held later this year in Easton, CT where he will rest beside Gerrie. Anyone wishing to make a contribution in John's memory is asked to please consider donating to your local public library in honor of his most insatiable appetite for books!

Published in Ithaca Journal on Oct. 11, 2012
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