Robert Edward Montgomery
Jan. 26, 1922 to Sep. 10, 2018
Born January 26, 1922, released from this mortal coil September 10, 2018.
Bob was born in Portland, Oregon, by his mother Ann Reckord and father Francis H. Montgomery. His sister Joyce, a constant companion, preceded Bob at the age of 91.
Bob, in his schooling years, grew up in Seattle. He graduated from Broadway High School June 1941. As a child, Bob would often hang out at his father's office machine business in downtown Seattle, Wales Sales and Service. According to Bob, he became such a pest in the shop his dad put him to work first changing ribbon or replacing key tops on typewriters and then eventually sending him on service calls when one of the repair men were not available. One of the perks of being a kid in downtown Seattle were the numerous ornate theaters and Bob would sneak in to many, watching rehearsals and listening to the magnificent theatre pipe organs.
In the summer of 1942 prior to his notice of recruitment to the US Armed Services, Bob got a job in Moscow, Idaho to service Woodstock typewriters. In November of that year Bob joined the Army in support of World War 2. Bob served in Europe and was honorably discharged March 12,1946. During his time with the US Army, whenever Bob arrived for duty, the local command always found out he was skilled repairing typewriters, had him turn in his equipment and set him to work. When he arrived in the UK, Bob was assigned as a Technician and started repairing typewriters. Bob served Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force Command (SHAEF) repairing typewriters and other machines for the group throughout Europe. Bob had colorful stories of his time in Bushy Park, Paris and Frankfurt. His love for the theatre blossomed.
When Bob returned home, his father had gotten a contract to service office machines at the Bremerton Navy Yard. So in 1946 they packed up and moved to Bremerton starting the Bremerton Office Machine Company. Both men were skilled typewriter craftsmen. As they didn't yet have a storefront for themselves, Bob and his father worked on typewriters and office machines in the basement of a house they rented in Gorst for $30 per month. They struck a deal with Thompson's Stationary Store on Fourth Street in downtown Bremerton: Thompson would display the typewriters and be the conduit for pick-up and delivery and the Montgomery's would give him 20%.
Eventually, Bob moved the repair part of his business into the basement of a building across the street from Thompson's Stationary. That office is now the garden-courtyard across from the spa and hair care shops in The Soriano Building on Fourth Street. He also had his store in the basement of Booth's Pharmacy. Except for a ten year stay on Callow, Bob Montgomery has, in some form or fashion, owned and operated Bremerton Office Machine Company on Fourth Street in Downtown Bremerton for 70 years.
Bob's geographic allegiance to our City wasn't just in business, but in the arts, too. In 1950, Bob was "volunteered" by a friend who was the local Buick dealer and amateur actor, that Bob would be playing the part of a corrupt Senator in a play at the Bremerton Community Theatre (BCT), a production of 'Born Yesterday.' "Why me?" Bob asked. He was told, "Because our first two choices just got drafted by the Army." Bob admittedly became addicted to the fun of performing and putting on shows. Bob continued to volunteer for the theatre group for over 60 years. Bob acted in over forty plays, directed thirty, helped produce 70, was stage manager, treasurer, you name it, Bob did it. Bob's relationship with Bremerton Community Theatre continued steadily. He has acted and/or been part of production and crew in over 145 shows from 1950 to 2012.
Many consider Bob saved BCT in the 1970's when the parks department was going to tear down the old building. Bob convinced the City of Bremerton to consider a new location if he could garner support. They agreed. As Bob rounded up arts patrons to support building a new theatre, He was also key in procuring many items from the old closed up Seattle theaters. That youthful enthusiasm hanging out as a kid in Seattle really helped. Bob found seating, lighting, rigging and even a theatre pipe organ all to be used in the newly constructed building. Bob's impact on the theatrical community was so great, they named the main auditorium at BCT in Bob's name.
Bob's other legacy is his office machine business, one of the longest surviving businesses continuously located in the downtown Bremerton area. Bob, at 94 years, finally retired and sold the business. Bob's repair business is still located in downtown Bremerton.
In recognition of his lifetime service to City and Country, The Mayor of The City of Bremerton recognized March 12, 2014, as Robert "Bob" Montgomery Day.
Bob never gained the accumulation of money, leaving this world with none. Despite never having riches, Bob lived an amazingly full life giving back to his community at every opportunity. All who know Bob appreciate his wry humor and ability to help folks get fantastic things done. Bob is missed by all.
Bob will be interred at Ivy Green Cemetery, Bremerton.
Photo Credit: Chris Ledford