GARRY LYNN MONTGOMERY ~ Class of 1967
September 6, 1949 - May 13, 1979
Pvt. Garry L. Montgomery, 29, Fort Jackson, SC died May 13, 1979, in a car-pedestrian accident at Fort Jackson. He was born in Trumann, AR on September 6, 1949, and lived in the Tri-Cities most all his life.
He graduated from Columbia High School in 1967, was a member of Missionary Baptist Church and was editor of the Baptist Branch Church paper in Salinas, CA.
Survivors include mother and step-father, Mr. and Mrs. F. R. Brightwell; father and step-mother, Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Montgomery; sisters, Jan Montgomery McCall ('66) and Jeannie Brightwell Saporito ('75).
Services were held on May 18, 1979, at Einan's Funeral Home. Burial was in Sunset Memorial Gardens with military honors conducted by Fort Lewis.
Published in the Tri-City Herald on May 17, 1979.
The following information was provided by Jan MONTGOMERY McCall ('66) on February 4, 2014:
What was not mentioned in the newspaper (when my brother died) was that Garry originally enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on his 18th birthday which was on September 6, 1967. He served eight years in the Marine Corps and was sent to Vietnam. He spent two years in Vietnam, received his Purple Heart Medal, then spent the remainder of his time, at Camp Pendleton, CA. He received an honorable discharge in July, 1975. Then four years later he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where while stationed at Fort Jackson, SC he was hit by a drunk driver while he was walking beside a road outside Fort Jackson and was killed. It was on Mother's Day, May 13, 1979.
According to military papers dated, Sept. 13-1967 medals and citations listed:
National Defense Service Medal
Purple Heart Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Rifle Expert Badge
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Plus 0311-rifleman and 0-50-54-proof Director small arms
Also below further it says, Good Conduct Medal.
We did not know how to put all of this in the paper when he was killed. We were all grieving. I did give an interview to someone who was writing about Garry, for the '67 classmates who had passed away. She was taking information about deceased classmates and came to my parent's home prior to their 10th or 20th class reunion. She was very nice and quoted me correctly but used the wrong name for Garry's sister who gave her the interview. She said it was Patsy, when it was actually me. We don't have a sister named Patsy. I know it was printed as I remember reading it and thinking that it was very nice.
Sometimes when we lose someone we love, it's very hard to write about their short lives. Garry had been bothered with post-traumatic stress syndrome, from the time he first came home from Vietnam. He was "restless" and could not stay in one place very long. We did not know what PTSS was ... we do now. It really does change people who suffer from it. Wish we had known more at that time.
Garry was bright and talented, especially when it came to music. He taught himself how to play drums, and guitar; he also liked to fish, and enjoyed watching sports. He was quiet, but had a wonderful smile and would help anyone who needed it. How do you put all of this in a few paragraphs? I'm sending this on to you because the article did not say that he had previously served in the Marine Corps for eight years and received a Purple Heart while serving in Vietnam.
You can put whatever you like in his memorial page, but I would dearly like for people to know that he previously served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and while serving in Vietnam, received a Purple Heart. All of this before he enlisted in the Army, which was four years later, at the age of 29.
Thank you so much, for caring about those we have lost. Believe me, to the family of those lost, we never forget and like knowing they will be remembered. It's hard to sum up a life in a few paragraphs, isn't it? I hope this helps you. I appreciate all that you are doing, and I know others feel the same way.
My deepest thanks for remembering my brother. Best wishes and blessings.
File put together by Shirley COLLINGS Haskins ('66).