William R. "Bill" Montgomery, 76, of Traverse City, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 at his home. Bill was born on Sept. 20, 1941 in Detroit to the late Robert and Virginia "Jean" (Mathews) Montgomery.
Bill attended the University of Michigan and joined the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He graduated in 1963 with an honors degree in economics and followed up with an Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, graduating in 1965.
After moving to Chicago to begin his career in business, he met and married the love of his life, Anne Edmonds. They married on July 29, 1967 at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth, Illinois. Over ensuing years Anne and Bill followed Bill's career, primarily working as an advisor to CEOs in the energy business. They lived in San Marino, California, and Dallas, Texas, and upon retirement in 2002 moved to Traverse City to continue summers on Lake Skegemog, a tradition which began for him as a child in 1946. In 2012 they left Dallas and became full time residents of Traverse City.
Bill and Anne ensured that their family had the best education possible, a strong belief in God and the love and fun of being one together. A strong theme from his own parents was that you must "advance the line" to give each generation more opportunity than the last.
In addition to his family and friends, Bill had several passions, philanthropy, writing and golf. The focus of his church affiliations was always deep involvement in social outreach programs. He was instrumental in creating a homeless shelter in Los Angeles and in supporting The Austin Street Shelter in Dallas. The two shelters have provided a sanctuary of last resort for thousands of individuals over the past 30 years.
The other side of Bill's outreach focus was his leadership for fundraising efforts to rebuild Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and to build the Cowell Family Cancer Center at Munson Healthcare Center in Traverse City. He felt strongly that hospitals had provided so much for him and his family that it was important to give back. He also felt that modern and sophisticated hospital facilities should be a resource for the entire community.
Bill's passion for writing came to fruition when he wrote his book "Prayer for Time" about his need to use his time wisely after learning he had advanced prostate cancer. His book touched many, and he happily shared his message on TV and radio appearances. His experience helped connect him to Traverse City's strong local writing community, and he gratefully served on the board of the National Writer's Series. He was thrilled to see it grow and become one of the features of life in Traverse City.
Bill's writing was emblematic of the vivacity with which he lived for the last eight years of his life. Instead of disappearing quietly into the night after his cancer diagnosis, Bill did what he did best, engaging life deeper. Bill was proud of many things in his life, but he was particularly proud of his contribution to his family, friends and community during the last eight years of his life.
Golf was a work in progress for Bill, but he diligently "practiced" to make sure that he could keep up his side of the game. His real love for the game was the social interaction with friends. Off the golf course, Bill was a watchful and caring presence at his book club and among his "group of guys" who came together weekly over coffee to share what was happening in their lives - things survived, from recent, grave medical procedures to long ago stupid things they had done as kids.
Bill and Anne just celebrated their 50th anniversary surrounded by their family, Alyson and her two children, Alexander and Amelia, of Chesterfield, New Hampshire, John and his wife, Rachael, of Houston, Texas, and Chris and Marissa and their three children, Lucy Kate, Kyle and Jay, of Dallas, Texas. Also surviving are a brother, Thomas and his wife, Cathy Montgomery, of Sarasota, Florida, and their sons, Jeffery, John and James.
Friends are welcome to visit with Bill's family from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, 305 Sixth St., Traverse City, MI 49684. A funeral service celebrating Bill's life and service will take place at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior, on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 at Grace Episcopal Church, 341 Washington St., Traverse City, MI 49684.
Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider a memorial donation to the Writer's Series of Traverse City, 1200 W. 11th St., Suite 231, Traverse City, MI 49684; and the Cowell Family Cancer Center through the Munson Healthcare Foundation, 1150 Medical Campus Dr., Traverse City, MI 49684.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories with Bill's family at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.
Published on December 3, 2017