ST. GEORGE — Raymond Montgomery, 51, died unexpectedly while at work on a tug boat in New Jersey on August 19, 2019. Born July 3, 1968 in Waterville, he was a lifelong resident of St. George. He attended local schools and graduated from Georges Valley High School in 1987.
Ray was born a natural mechanic. He could fix anything. His brother Dana said that because they could not afford to buy toys, they had to build their own and with a need for speed those toys usually had an engine. This passion led him to one of his first jobs working with local marine diesel mechanic Art Stanley, a man he greatly admired and respected. He said that Art was a huge influence on his life and career choice. Another of his mentors that he had great respect for was Art Henry, and when his son Ellery was born, he gave him the middle name Arthur as a tribute to these two men.
Growing up in St. George surrounded by family and friends, Ray knew this was where he wanted to be. So, on a piece of land handed down through many generations since the 1700s, with his Mom, brothers and Uncles Tim and Hildane Polky as neighbors, he started to build by hand, his own home. Construction had just gotten started on his house when he met the love of his life, Joanna Wilbur. Their son Ellery was born in July 1996 and on September 21, 1996 they were married at the First Baptist Church right there in Wiley’s Corner. As soon as the house was ready they moved in and added to their family, daughter Haley in 1999 and Seanna in 2002.
After working for Art Stanley, Raymond also worked for George Hall & Sons and his brother Russell at Montgomery Oil Company. He was engineer on several scallop boats out of New Bedford Mass and when he acquired enough sea time, he did the necessary schooling to become chief engineer working for McAllister towing and finally Wittich Brothers Marine Tug Service out of New Jersey. He was a member of I.U.O.E. #25 local union.
Working for Wittich Bros. took Ray to several new places including Russia, Romania and Turkey. He also made a trans-Atlantic trip which was very exciting for him. It was on this trip that his skill and Yankee ingenuity came in handy. The boat broke down in Port in the Mediterranean and it looked like they would be held up for a couple weeks getting the parts and needed repair. Raymond, using a Ritz cracker box and silicon, made a gasket and they were able to steam, arriving on time to their destination. Some of his shipmates rolled their eyes at his scheme, but it worked!
Ray was definitely a people person. He seemed to know everyone and loved them all. His daughters and sister Cindy laughed telling how a trip to Walmart with Ray was like a social event and could take hours if you didn’t keep him moving. He had to say hello and catch up with everyone he saw. Ray was also known for his wit and sense of humor. He was always joking and making people laugh. He even asked Chief Justice Roberts if, when he went from Port Clyde to his house on Hupper’s Island, he “rowed verses wade.”
The absolute light of his life were his children. He just beamed when telling how well Ellery was doing in the Marine Corps and Haley at Husson College in Bangor. Seanna will be starting her Junior year at Camden Hills Regional High School this fall. He took great pleasure in watching them grow. He loved going to the girls’ basketball games with lollipops for all and cheering on the team. He and Ellery always had a project going on; maybe fixing up an old truck or Jeep to bomb through the woods or some other means of transportation. He made his dooryard a playground for kids with a big pool and swings. Having a big cookout with his family and all their friends was great fun for him. All of the kids loved him and he was usually the biggest kid there! He was a fun dad! He was also known for having a bon fire every now and then; his nephews Mike and Alex both reminisced fondly about him teaching them to build a proper fire. And always by his side was his loyal companion of 17 years, his dog Gus. Gus would be so excited when Ray came home from a trip that he could hardly contain himself.
Ray loved his town and was proud of his Finnish heritage. He was a scout leader and member of the fire department until work took him away. He has a very large family with three surviving uncles, one aunt and too many cousins to count and they all held a place in his heart.
Predeceased by his mom and his brother, Randy; he is survived by his wife, Joanna and children, Ellery, Haley, and Seanna; his dad, Maynard Montgomery and companion, Gerry; his brothers, Reggie Montgomery, Russell Montgomery, Dana Montgomery and his wife Wendy; sisters, Cindy May and her husband Glenn Hall, and Lynn Johnson; a very special uncle, Adrien Polky; a very special cousin, Austin Long; and of course, his dog, Gus.
Also missing Raymond are his nieces, Tracey Raven and her husband Matt, Allison Flynn and husband Corwin, Cheyenne Crane and husband Reiss; nephews, Mike Percy and wife Lindsey, Alex Hall and companion Eliza; many more nieces and nephews living out of state, and several great nieces and nephews.
Friends and relatives are invited to visit Tuesday, August 27, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.
A Celebration of Ray’s Life will be held Wednesday, August 28, at 11 am, at First Baptist Church of St. George, 15 Snows Point Road at Willeys Corner.
Interment will follow in North Parish Cemetery. A reception will be held at Willeys Corner Grange.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Raymond Montgomery Memorial Fund, c/o Midcoast Federal Credit Union, 209 New County Road, Thomaston, Maine 04861.
To share a memory or condolence with Raymond’s family, visit his online Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.