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Mary Louise Montgomery Blair
February 14, 1934 ~ July 24, 2022 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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Reflections of a Good Life
Mary Lou was born on Valentine’s Day of 1934, in Joplin, MO, daughter of Dr. L. Brook Montgomery and Mary Clayton Montgomery. She was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved aunt, Louise Clayton Murrell, her beloved brother, Dr. John Clayton Montgomery, born on New Year’s Day of 1931, and his wife, Shirley Martin Montgomery. She is survived by her son, Brook Montgomery Blair, her daughter-in-law, Helen Anne Vickery, and her granddaughter, Nora Louise Blair; her nephews, John Clayton Montgomery, Jr., (and Tamara Scholten), and Robert Martin Montgomery; and her grand nephew, Justin Monnig (and Kristen Pappacena and Roberta Monnig).
Mary Lou attended Joplin public schools, graduating from Joplin High School in 1952. While in high school, Mary Lou’s favorite activities were performing in a semi-professional dance group, riding horseback with her family, and exploring and hiking the surrounding Ozark hills with childhood friends. She relished frequent family trips to Branson and visiting the “Shepherd of the Hills” country.
After graduating from Joplin High School, Mary Lou spent two years as a piano major at Hollins College, in Roanoke, Virginia, prior to graduating from the University of Missouri, with a B.S. in Education, in 1956, where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. While at the university, she was recognized as an accomplished pianist, performing as a guest artist with the University of Missouri Symphony Orchestra in 1956.
Mary Lou spent the summer of 1955 traveling throughout Europe, beginning with kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland, a reminder of her childhood Blarney activities.
A thirty-four year teaching career began in Corinth School District (Johnson County, KS) and Austin Public Schools (TX). After completing further qualifications, with M.S. and Education Specialist degrees, Mary Lou served as a Reading Specialist in Carthage R-9 Schools (MO) and Alachua County Schools (Gainesville, FL), prior to moving, in 1978, to Boulder, CO, and ending her career with twenty years in Adams 12 Five Star Schools (Thornton, CO). During post-retirement, she taught part-time with Boulder Valley School District.
During her childhood summers, Mary Lou cherished the opportunity to attend Cheley Colorado Camps year after year. She developed a lasting love of the Rocky Mountains, climbing most of the Front Range peaks. In the mid-1970s, she returned to Cheley to become unit director in Chipeta girls’ camp. Later, she became an original founder of the John Austin Cheley Foundation, achieving its first camper.
Mary Lou began “antiquing” in grade school and enjoyed the hobby throughout her lifetime. She always felt she “fit in well” with the past. She loved primitives and laughingly quipped, “Who else would have a barn feed-bin in their living room?”
Ever since 1955, when her devoted father gave her a three-month summer excursion to Europe, Mary Lou had been intrigued by European travel, an interest which was later renewed in the 1980s and 1990s by joining her son Brook in Berlin and traveling to Czechoslovakia and Hungary, all while the Iron Curtain was still in place, and also in the United Kingdom.
Although a rather private person, Mary Lou was fiercely loyal and enjoyed many friendships with those “from all walks of life.”
Reflecting on her long life, Mary Lou said her greatest gift was a beautiful, happy, and blessed childhood, leading to her present devoted and unique family. Her passions were her son Brook, recognized as Mary Lou’s strength and sustenance, his dear wife Helen and her cherished granddaughter Nora Lou (“Ganny, life is good!”). She also adored her two nephews, John and Bob.
A private memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the