Elmer Kay Montgomery, 84
Elmer Kay Montgomery, 84, of Boise died Oct. 19, 2013. He was born Aug. 14, 1929, in Kooskia, to Elmer and Evelyn (Tefft) Montgomery. His paternal grandparents resided in Stites, and his maternal grandparents on a homestead near Winchester. His mother was a schoolteacher in Kooskia and his father a carpenter, eventually learning surveying from the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mountains surrounding the Clearwater, Lochsa and Selway rivers. The family’s love of the outdoors and government opportunities for work in the 1930s and post World War II, provided a foundation for Kay’s lifetime interest in architectural engineering and construction.
After graduating from Kooskia High School in 1946, Kay attended the University of Idaho and completed a degree in architecture. There he connected with a Kooskia classmate, June McHone, and they married. The couple moved to Renton, Wash., where he worked for Pacific Car Foundry. Soon they returned to Lewiston with two young daughters, where Kay’s parents had moved also, for their retirement years and to be nearer their son’s family. Kay began his longtime engineering career with the State of Idaho Highway Department. During his years in Lewiston, Kay and June had two more girls.
Kay earned the designation of Licensed Professional Engineer in 1960 and eventually taught continuing education classes for other engineering students. During the 1960s, when Kay was in his early 30s, he became project engineer on many landmark construction projects surrounding the Lewiston area. The first was the present-day Spalding Bridge, spanning the Clearwater River.
In the mid to late 1960’s, Kay was transferred to Grangeville to become project engineer on the new highway on White Bird Hill, and for construction of the Slate Creek Bridge and U.S. 95 project near Riggins. When the bridge at Slate Creek was finished, the State Highway Department earned a national merit award for aesthetic design from the Institute of Steel Construction, in approximately 1970.
The White Bird Hill project began in 1964 and continued for 10 years. It replaced the previous switch-backed, two lane roadway up the canyon, including a super structure bridge that connects the Camas Prairie with Salmon River Country at White Bird. Kay was the project engineer in Grangeville and contributed many professional hours to these highway projects.
Kay and June eventually divorced, and he later married Lasetta Taylor Bayliss of White Bird. The two met in Grangeville and raised three more children. In 1980, with the White Bird Hill project and others behind him, Kay transferred to a job with the State Highway Department headquarters in Boise. During this time, Kay and Lasetta went separate ways, and he eventually married Patti Joseph.
Kay is survived by seven children, Anita (Randy) Portrey of Spokane, Holly Montgomery of Missoula, Connie Montgomery of Seattle, Sara (Scott) Coy of Cheney, Misti Montgomery of Portland, Chad Montgomery of Valdez and William Montgomery of Boise; step-daughter, Tawna Bayless Barck (David).
A graveside service was held Oct. 26 at Dry Creek Cemetery. Cloverdale Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.
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