William Monsos

MISSOULA William S. "Bill" Monsos, 84, of Missoula, died of natural causes Nov. 9, at Community Medical Center in Missoula.

There will be a burial with military honors at Highland Cemetery at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, followed by a gathering of friends and family at The Bar-S Supper Club immediately afterwards.

He was born Oct. 9, 1928 in Great Falls to Norman S. and Helen Monsos. Bill was active in DeMolay and music (voice and trumpet) at Great Falls High School. He initially joined the Army after graduation during World War II and completed boot camp, but was diverted to West Point Military Academy upon receiving a telegram announcing his acceptance. During his career as an Artillery officer, he served and was decorated in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. he spent a tense several weeks in Florida during the Cuban missile crisis, and did "we'll-never-know-what" at the National Security Agency in Fort Meade for three years. He spent two tours of duty in Germany, the first immediately after World War II when he was stationed in Landshut as part of the United States occupying force. He returned with his family to Germany at the end of the 1960's to command the 1st of the 32nd (Honest John) Missile Battalion in Hanau, Germany and subsequently to serve as the G4 on the commanding general's staff in West Berlin, where the wall still stood between east and west. He retired from the military as a Lt. Colonel in 1972 and returned to Great Falls with his family.

Because his first rotation in Germany was to be three years, his fiancée, Janet Ferguson, travelled to Landshut for their wedding in 1952, which actually happened twice, first in German and later in English. His daughter was born in Ripon, Wis. in 1957 when he was assigned to teach ROTC at Ripon College. His son was born in Ann Arbor, Mich. three years later while Bill was working on a Master's Degree. Other family members included a series of much-loved dogs: Tosca (an Airedale from Germany), Sherlock (much travelled including to Germany - Old English Sheepdog) and a series of Keeshonds: Tasha, Kesha and Frisky, as well as several mixed breeds, many adopted from the Humane Society of Great Falls where he served on the board.

Upon his retirement from the Army, Bill went back to school first to become an accountant, and later to get his Realtor's and Broker's license. He worked for Montana Realty in Great Falls for many years, during which time he was involved in the sale of the Bar S Lounge and Supper Club on the Belt highway. When that sale fell through, he partnered with others to purchase the business. The new owners prided themselves on having a place where at least one of the three was always present, and so Bill was to be found there almost daily, doing everything from greeting customers, to swamping out the floors, to keeping the financial records.

He always loved to sing, and upon his military retirement, he was finally able to make time to join the Treasure Statesmen - the Great Falls chapter of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQA). Besides weekly rehearsals and regular concerts with the chorus, he sang baritone for the Giant Springs Clef Dwellers and Carp Snagging Society quartet.

Bill is survived by his wife Janet; daughter Holly of Toledo, Ohio; son Michael of Missoula; as well as his two grandchildren Trevor and Nicholas, both of Missoula; his sister Judy Daniels of Great Falls; and his nephew, Brett Hightower of Great Falls.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Humane Society of Great Falls in Bill's name.

Condolences to the family may be left at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com

Published in Great Falls Tribune from Dec. 2 to Dec. 5, 2012