The Reverend Gary Montague
Longtime civic, business, and arts leader, Gary Montague, transitioned on December 7, 2020. Gary was born April 4, 1939, in Mullan, ID, to William and Gladys Montague. His parents opened and operated a number of full service grocery stores in Wilbur, Coulee City and Almira, WA, between 1939 and 1942. The family, including Gary and his older brother, Eugene Montague, moved to Wenatchee, in 1942. William and Gladys purchased the Wenatchee Grocery Store, known then as Abbott and Montague, from business partner, Frank Abbott. The store was renamed Montague Grocery, and was also known as Blue Ribbon Market. It was located at 124 North Wenatchee Ave., now the site of the American Shoe Shop.
Gary's parents were devout Christian Scientists. His mother was elected to the position of First Reader in the Wenatchee church, the equivalent of Minister, which Christian Science Churches do not have. Gary began his religious studies in the church at age five and continued to study metaphysics as defined by other denominations, as well as all the major religions of the world throughout his lifetime. In 1996 Gary registered for seminary in the Divine Science Church and began his studies. The course of study could be completed through distance learning with two months residency required in Washington D.C., or Denver, CO. After nearly 41 years at World Publishing Co., as an advertising executive, Gary decided to retire at the end of 1997, and after that, served for eight years as a Commissioner at the Chelan County PUD, including two years as President of The Board of Commissioners. His religious studies were then put on hold due to the time and travel required by his duties as a Commissioner. In 2008, Gary decided to resume his studies, but found that the residency requirements had now been increased to two years. He then sought out another metaphysical seminary in which to complete his studies. He received his B.Msc. and Ordination in 2010. At his passing, he had completed all the course work for Master's and Doctorate degrees in Metaphysics and was simultaneously working on his thesis and dissertation. In this same time period, he wrote and published articles on metaphysics for religious publications.
Gary was writing a book entitled “A Congregation of One”. He accumulated a vast library of books on religion. He provided spiritual and end-of-life counseling for many people, who were unaware of his ordination or training. Gary's older brother, Eugene, was also a minister. Gene's chosen faith was Episcopalian. Gary chose not to make widely know his religious credentials. Although invited to speak at other churches about metaphysics, and to perform ministerial duties at weddings, memorial services, baptisms, he declined those invitations. His intent was, through his writing, to further call attention to the importance of Christ's often-overlooked healing ministry.
Gary was a 1957 graduate of Wenatchee High School and studied at Wenatchee Valley College, Central Washington University, and the Columbia University, New York City School of Journalism.
A partial list of Gary's service to the arts, business, and the healing arts follows.
Some of Gary's honors: Adele Wolford Founder's Award, presented by Art On The Avenues, 2008; Stanley Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Supporters Of The Center at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2004; WHS Distinguished Alumnus Award and Commencement Speaker at Wenatchee High School Graduation, 2004. Some of the leadership positions to which Gary was elected or appointed: President, Wenatchee Area Chamber of Commerce; President, Wenatchee Visitor & Convention Bureau; President, Central Washington Hospital Foundation; President, Music Theatre of Wenatchee; President, Allied Arts Council of North Central Washington; President, Gallery '76 (Now named Robert Graves Gallery); President, Mainstream Republicans of Chelan/Douglas Counties; President, PTSA Associations; President, Wenatchee Valley Dance Foundation; Director General, Washington State Apple Blossom Festival; Director, Central Washington Better Business Bureau; Director, American Lung Association of Washington; Director, Wenatchee Rotary Club; Director, Western States Arts Foundation; Trustee, Wenatchee Rotary Foundation; Trustee, Mountain Meadows Assisted Living, Leavenworth, WA; Commissioner, Washington State Arts Commission, served ten years under four Washington State Governors; Chairman, Washington State Arts Commission; Commissioner, Wenatchee Arts Commission; Commissioner, Chelan County Public Utility District; eight years President, Board of Commissioners, Chelan County Public Utility District, Elected to two terms as President, President, Western Newspaper Classified Advertising Association; President, Pacific Northwest Association of Newspaper CAM; Chairman/Creator, Newspaper Association of America International Telemarketing Seminar; Advertising Executive, The Wenatchee World newspaper, 1957-1997; Newspaper Consultant, 1998; Founder/Owner, Leslie/Bryan/Jones; Founder, Quest Ministries; Co-Founder, Wenatchee Valley Clean Air Coalition; Co-Founder, Chelan/Douglas County Better Breathers; Executive Board of Washington State Republican Central Committee.
Other Responsibilities: Producer of many musicals and plays for Music Theatre of Wenatchee; Producer of Wenatchee's 80th Anniversary Pageant; Director, Affiliate Artist Program NYC, in NCW for many years; Consultant, Affiliate Artists, Inc., New York City, NY; Board member, Ruby Arts of Lake Chelan; Editor, WVC newspaper, The Knight Edition; Lecturer, WVC - Arts Administration, Grant Writing and Advertising Grants Evaluator for Washington State Arts Commission; Active in the National Association of State Arts Agencies; Member, Advisory Committee for Art and Interior Design, WVC Advisory Board, Ruby Arts of Lake Chelan; Advisory Board, Wenatchee Youth Theatre, Inc.; Member, Columbia River Environmental Study Team (CREST); Executive Vice President, Washington State Jaycees; 40-Year Member, Wenatchee Rotary Club.
Current Affiliations: President, Mainstream Republicans of Chelan & Douglas Counties; Member, Mainstream Republicans of Washington State; Trustee, Wenatchee Valley College Foundation; Member, Jerusalem Prayer Team; Member, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews; Member, Simon Wiesenthal Center; Member, Jacque Pepin Foundation; Partner of Conscience, Amnesty International; Board Member, Wenatchee Valley Clean Air Coalition; Board Member, Robert Graves Gallery; CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad litem; Who's Who In The World, 1991-1992, 1993-1994, 1995-1996; Who's Who In The West, 1989-1990, 1994-95, 1996-1997.
Gary's national and regional travels, and work in the arts allowed him to meet and work with many luminaries in the world of the arts. Among those were authors Alex Haley (Roots) and Eudora Welty; actor/producer/director, Clint Eastwood; motion picture director, Robert Wise; legendary stage and screen performer, Ben Vereen; American icon and painter, Jacob Lawrence; TV celebrity, Kitty Carlyle-Hart; New York Choreographer, Bill T. Jones; dancer and choreographer, Harry Streep; and musician extraordinaire, Ted Piltzecker. Gary loved all of the arts, but particularly musical theatre. He feasted on countless Broadway musicals in New York and other major cities. He attended six performances of one of his favorites, A Chorus Line. He produced many of those favorites locally.
One of Gary's greatest delights was being with smiling, laughing children of all ages. He did not look kindly upon people who took themselves too seriously. Gary rarely parted company with you, without sharing a laugh. He often told his staff: “if we aren't having fun doing this work we must be doing it wrong....in that case, come talk to me, please!” He loved water skiing, downhill snow skiing, spring Chinook winds, summer thunder and lightening storms, steam trains, natural hot springs, musical theatre, fund raising, and the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Eric Butterworth, and Emmett Fox. He loved his friends and family and strove to demonstrate the qualities of a good friend and father. He will be missed by his many friends, family members, former co-workers, political allies and foes alike, and his partners in charitable works. Gary's often voiced or written parting comment was “never pass up an opportunity to laugh!"
Gary is survived by his wife, Geni Allen; daughter, Teresa Montague Scofield of Yakima, WA; son, Douglas Bryan Montague and his wife, Amita, of Springfield, UT; son, Kevin Allen of Wenatchee, WA; grandson, James Allen of Wenatchee, WA; daughter, Kelly Allen of Doha, Qatar; daughter, Helena Caldwell of Seattle, WA; and his step-sister, Diane Wiggins of Seattle, WA. Also surviving are nine grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and four God-children. Gary was preceded in death by his mother in 1953; his father in 1966; and his brother; Gene; in 2012. He was also preceded in death in 2011, by his most beloved companion, Clancy, his beautiful 100-1b. Golden Retriever. Clancy would sit upright in the center of the front seat of the car nearly cheek-to cheek with his master. It always made people smile and wave. More than once Gary was asked “do you let your dog drive?" His answer was always "heavens no, Clancy isn't yet 16!”
Arrangements are entrusted to Chapel of the Valley, East Wenatchee, WA. At his request, there will be no Memorial Service. Contributions in Gary's memory may be made to the Wenatchee Valley College Foundation, the Wenatchee YMCA, or Rev. Dr. Norm Stueckle's Wenatchee Valley Counseling Services.