Kathy Montgomery died at her home Wednesday, May 25, 2011. She was 65.
Kathy was born March 30, 1946, in Hayden, to Dalpha (Decker) and William Ellifritz.
Her parents divorced when Kathy was very young, and Dalpha remarried soon after.
George Zimmerman was a wonderful father to Kathy. Tracy June joined the family in 1952.
When Kathy was a teen, she fell in love with a car owned by (Earnest) Jim Montgomery. She didn’t have any trouble loving the man, either.
Jim died a few weeks before they celebrated 40 years of marriage in 2005. They had the car for quite a while, too. During their marriage, they had two children, Shelley Marie and Bryan James.
Jim and Kathy married in 1965 and moved to Vancouver, Wash., for work. In 1966, Shelley Marie was born.
They moved back to Craig shortly after her birth. At one point, when they were back in Colorado, they lived a summer on Black Mountain in a camper. They also had a cat, Snag, and a dog, S.A.M., on the mountain.
Bryan James joined the family in 1973. When things “lined out,” the kids were in school and Kathy was looking for a new adventure.
She chose to get her GED, followed soon by quite a few courses at Colorado Northwestern Community College.
She completed those courses with straight A’s.
Her education would go on hold when her father-in-law, Leonard Montgomery, had a stroke. He was moved into their home, requiring care for a time on the way to a successful rehabilitation.
For several years, she and Jim also had the good fortune of having Jim’s nephew, Mike Montgomery, and for a time Susie, living on the property.
It was like a daily family get together. Mike was known to bring “critters” home from work. Baby bunnies came in that Kathy nursed, and a rattlesnake on another occasion.
The house, the kids and the car — too tame for Jim and Kathy. After Jim’s retirement, they cruised around in the motorhome for a short time and in the 1990’s, decided to sell everything and move to Alaska.
They settled in Kasilof, Alaska, for the duration of their retirement. After they had relocated and settled down, they had the good fortune of having Kathy’s son, Andy, rejoin their “kid pool.”
Kathy enjoyed crocheting, reading, hunting, wildlife, camping, snowmobiling, her motorcycle, fishing, family and friends. They don’t give awards for the loving care she provided to those she guarded, but she deserved one.
Her employment over the years included ranch work, truck driving, restaurant work from the front to the back, babysitting and office work.
The couple slowed down a bit when Jim’s health began to fail. He died in 2005.
Kathy was able to spend a little time with Shelley at hunting camp following Jim’s death.
When her health deteriorated, she was lovingly cared for by her cousins, Nema Arndt and David Chliders. In her last days, her dearest friend, Marlene Lorrigan, sat at her side.
Kathy is survived by her sons, Andrew (Leslie) Cook, of Glenwood Springs, and Bryan (Mary Beth) Montgomery, of Golden Valley, Ariz.; daughter Shelley (Stu Massey) Montgomery, of Rangely; grandchildren Andy’s daughter, Justin (Katrina) Montgomery-Gates, of Wasilla, Alaska, Kelley and Riley Montgomery; great-grandchildren Jadrik, Joel and Jasper Gates; and many extended family members and step relatives.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim; her parents; infant brother; sister Tracy June Zimmerman; and niece Kelley Ann Stauffer.
Jim and Kathy’s ashes will be spread over the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, with no formal services planned, as she requested.