James Verlee “Jim” Montgomery, son of Rev. Clyde and Ruby Montgomery, was born at home near Simmons in Texas County, Missouri, on September 5, 1937. He died at his home in Springfield, Missouri, on May 4, 2017 after a long illness.
Jim started school at Oak Grove, then moved to Cabool where he graduated with the Class of 1955 who he loved like family.
In 1961 Jim married Karen Cooper from Summersville, Missouri. He served in the U.S. Army at Ft. Lee, Virginia, returning to St. Louis to work ten years at McDonnell Douglas. A son, James Jr., and a daughter, Diana, were born in St. Louis County and grew to 7 and 6 in St. Charles County before Jim and Karen decided they wanted their children to grow up in a small town. Jim bought a service station and worked long days later managing a bulk plant while raising a few beef cattle, gardening and as always, working very hard.
In 1988 Jim decided he would like to represent Cabool and the district in Jefferson City. He won four elections, serving eight years as a state representative. He was proud of accomplishing state assistance to replace the old rickety Ross Bridge in northeast Texas County; he supported the prison in Licking and was instrumental in placing the Division of Youth Services’ Gentry Residential Center in our District. He chaired the Veterans Committee guiding the placement of five Federal Veterans Cemeteries in Missouri. He retired in 1999, and in 2015 Jim and Karen moved to Springfield due to failing health.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Verlyn ‘Woody’ Montgomery.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Karen; his children, James Montgomery, Jr. (Melinda) and Diana Robertson (Steve); six grandchildren, Ashlyn (Chris) Brewer, Jordan (Eric) Gettys, Travis (Lauren) Montgomery, Alissa (Jesse) Thompson, Dace Robertson and Megan Robertson and one great-granddaughter, Charlotte Gettys; sisters, Sharon Bryant of Richland and Rosemary Brown of Salt Lake City, loving family members; lifelong friends and political associates.
His last months were made more pleasant and comfortable by the loving nurses, caregivers and volunteers of Integrity Hospice and Home Care.
Funeral services were held at 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at the funeral chapel with Travis and James Montgomery, Jr. officiating. Interment was in Cabool Cemetery under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool, Missouri. Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome. com.
Memorials may be made to Integrity Home and Hospice Foundation, 2960 N. Eastgate Ave., Springfield, MO 65803 or to Gentry Residential Treatment Center (Activity Fund), c/o Peoples Community Bank in Cabool, Missouri.