Ilileen L. Montgomery

Ilileen L. 
Montgomery
Ilileen “Irish” Lorraine McCormick Montgomery, 96, of Warsaw, passed away Saturday, August 29, 2020, at Good Samaritan Care Center, Cole Camp.  She was born on June 29, 1924, in Palisade, Nebraska, a daughter of Ora and Onetta (Hill) McCormick.
When she was approximately 1 ½ years old, her parents moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where she attended Clinton Elementary and Whittier Junior High. Irish’s mother, who suffered heart problems, was bed-fast for five years.  Even though a housemaid was hired to help around the house, Irish was taught to iron at an early age.  Her father bought a footstool so she could reach the ironing board where she pressed bed linen, handkerchiefs, and underwear and oh, she hated ironing! After school she devoted at least an hour to her bedridden mom, being beside her as they recited impromptu poetry together. Although she adored her mother, Irish’s Mentor was her precious Grandma Hill. She helped Irish set up a small library in her bedroom, selecting children’s books that Irish could rent to her friends for one penny.
Her grandma was truly a devoted Christian, taking her little granddaughter to Wednesday evening choir practice, Thursday night Prayer meeting, to Sunday School, and to both morning and evening church services.  One of Irish’s prized possession was here collection of certificates promoting her from Cradle Roll to Senior Teens, always being encouraged by her Grandma Hill. Only one month into her sophomore year, her dad was transferred to Ellis, Kansas, where she graduated from high school in May of 1942. Music and art were Irish’s special talents—she literally sang and painted her way through twelve years of schooling.  All glee clubs, chorus presentations plus operettas and class plays had Irish’s name on their programs.
World War II captured news headlines, so upon graduation, Irish moved to her Aunt’s in Denver, Colorado, and became Rosie the Riveter, working in several defense plants. A year or so later, she joined her parents in Salt Lake City, Utah. In Utah, she met and later married a young Airman, however the five-year marriage was doomed from the beginning.  Three blessed events were produced from the brief union: John W. “Pat” Jr., Lana Lee “Lonnie” and Barbara Jane “Bobi”.  Irish provided for her children by working two jobs and never once complained, because she was a mother who would NOT give up her babies!
In 1950, when this young mother was working as a car hop (curb manager) she met her soulmate. They became engaged one year later in late 1951 before he left for Korea. On November 13, 1952, at Meridian, Mississippi, she was united in marriage to John “Monty” Bailus Montgomery. For the next seventeen years, Irish was a very busy lady!  As an Air Force wife and raising three children, she served in various PTA offices; sang in Air Force Chapel choirs and for memorials; gave birth to her fourth child, Mike; worked as a displayer in the Army Air Force Exchange Service; was a military hospital Grey Lady; a Director of the Junior Red Cross; wrote, directed and sang in many stage productions; served as Den Mother to a group of young Cub Scouts and was an Illustrator, Receptionist, and Cashier in several NCO Clubs, all of this not only stateside but also in Japan and Germany.
In 1969, when her husband retired from the Air Force, they each operated a business in Gulf Breeze, Florida, where Irish also worked at Eglin Air Force Base, again as displayer following her love of creative design. She also delved in politics, was president of the local fire department and secretary of the county firefighter’s association.
In 1978, they sold their businesses to move to Independence, Missouri, so Irish could care for her somewhat healthy but aging father. While living in Independence, Irish became active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary, not only on the local level but also on District and State levels. As State Publicity Chairperson, she won many awards for her journalism and press book.  The Honor Branch of the VFW, the Cootie organization, whose mission is to promote and encourage regular volunteers at veterans’ facilities. It also has an auxiliary which offered Irish the membership opportunity to serve as Grand (State) Mama Clown over all MOCA clowns in the state of Missouri.  She frolicked, pranced, laughed, and clowned her way into every VA Hospital and Veterans Home in Missouri, along with numerous nursing homes, VFW children’s parties, Scout programs, and schools.  Her carefree, happy nature shone through her clown costume wherever she went!
She recognized the need for a more closely-knit neighborhood in which she lived so she joined the Independence Neighborhood Association to learn the procedures in organizing a Neighborhood 21 program. She cooked chili and wrote stage shows for children where they (and she) could perform to solicit funds for Neighborhood Watch signs to be erected throughout Neighborhood 21.
In October of 2002, they sold their Independence home, Irish’s beloved father had passed away, and they moved to their second home in Warsaw, Missouri, considered Ozarks country. 
Her four children were the highlights of Irish’s life, along with her beloved Monty.  Life was complete yet made richer with each grandchild and great-grandchild that came along.  She had an unconditional love for each and every one of them! 
She is survived by her husband, Monty; her daughters, Lonnie and Bobi; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ora and Onetta McCormick, her sons, Pat and Mike and three siblings.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 5, 2020, at First United Methodist Church, Cole Camp, with Pastor Tanner Wiley officiating and where the family will receive friends beginning at 2 p.m.  Burial will be at a later date in Leavenworth National Cemetery, Leavenworth, Kansas.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Fox Funeral Home, Cole Camp.

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