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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around her, Ann Montague was such a special gift to all who were within her reach. A longtime resident of the community she loved, she was devoted to serving the people of Paw Paw in a variety of ways. Ann was a devoted wife and mother, but she just may have argued that nothing was sweeter than becoming a grandmother later in life. Although life was not without times of trial for her, she was a woman of grace and courage with an unwavering strength that was truly inspiring. Although she will be deeply missed, Ann leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will forever cherish.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s, but the 1930s were a much different story as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce and the unemployment soared, and to make matters worse there was a crippling drought that covered our nation’s heartland for nearly two years. Despite the trials around them, Carl and Gladys (Cousins) Dahlstrom were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their lives as they celebrated the birth of the baby girl they named Ann Elizabeth on November 6, 1936, in Detroit, Michigan. She was the middle of three children, joined in her family by her older brother, Robert, and her younger brother, Martin. Ann lived with her family in Detroit until she was 12, and she rather liked big city living. She loved seeing all the sights such as Boblo Island, Hudson’s Department Store, and eating Stroh’s Ice Cream and drinking Vernors ginger ale.
Ann’s father worked as a mechanic, and when she was 12 they moved to Cadillac where her father opened his own garage. Although the transition was a bit of a shock, she settled into her surroundings. Since she was so social and outgoing, Ann made friends with ease.
Not to be forgotten during her years in high school was Ann’s introduction to the man of her dreams. His name was Dick Montague, and he was working at the local roller rink. He asked her to dance, and the rest is history as they say. Ann and Dick dated for a couple of years in high school, and as someone who was popular among her peers she was elected homecoming queen her senior year. In addition to holding down her studies, Ann worked as a waitress and an operator at Bell Telephone. She went on to graduate from high school in 1954.
With a desire to establish a life together, Ann and Dick were married on October 9, 1954, at Zion Lutheran in Cadillac. Dick prayed that the marriage would work, and this prayer came true as they went on to be married for 61 years. Together they were blessed to welcome two children, Kelley in 1958 and Richard in 1960, into their hearts and home. Since Dick’s work as a truck driver often took him away from home, Ann was left home to rule the roost much of the time. Although she wasn’t one to hand out the discipline, she was quick to tell her kids, “wait until your father gets home!” However, Ann took the time to reason with her children and pointed out their mistakes in a way that they could relate to. Ann was always a peacemaker, too.
In 1964, Ann and her family moved to Paw Paw where she remained for the rest of her life. Soon after arriving, she began working as an aide at Cedar Street School. Later, Ann was the secretary to the principal and finally retired in 1997 as the secretary to the superintendent. She always loved her work and knew the ins and outs of the school system. Ann also worked well with all of the superintendents as well as with all of the staff. She was outgoing and very much a people person with a deep love for her community, which is what made her so good at her job.
Always one to be busy, Ann was a woman of many interests. She always enjoyed traveling, and when her children were growing up they took numerous trips to Yellowstone. As Richard was involved in motocross, they traveled around to support him and made many good friends through that sport. Some great family memories were made as they traveled around.
It was the people in her life who meant everything to Ann. She was very easy to talk to, which made her a great friend, and she was also very close to all of her nieces and nephews. Ann encouraged her children in everything they did, and she gave them the confidence they needed to pursue their dreams. She taught all of her children the importance of living in peace with one another as well as the value of money and planning and budgeting wisely. Ann was known for saying, “Pretty is as pretty does,” and, “In the end, it’s family.”
Later in life Ann continued to life fully in the moment she was given. During their retirement years, she and Dick spent their winters in warmer weather, enjoying their large motorhome. They owned seven motorhomes over the years. Although Ann and her husband spent a lot of time traveling the South, they always returned home during the summers to see their family and friends. She was very close to her grandchildren and loved every moment of “grandma time.” Ann was mindful of making memories with her grandchildren doing special things like making cookies and sweet rolls for breakfast.
With unending devotion to her family, her friends, and her community, Ann Montague brought such joy to those around her. She lived fully and she loved generously, and she had a zest for life that was truly contagious. With friends all across the country, Ann was genuine, gracious, and warm. Deeply loved, she will be forever missed.
Ann Elizabeth Montague, a longtime resident of Paw Paw, died on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, in Arizona. Members of her family include her husband Dick, 2 children: Kelley Montague and Rick Montague, 5 grandchildren: Kourtney, Kristen, Kiley, Andrew and Justin; 2 brothers: Robert (Jackie) Dahlstrom and Martin (Pam) Dahlstrom and many nieces and nephews. Services will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 23rd Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler & Thompson, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw (657-3870). The family will receive friends at a reception at the funeral home immediately following the service. Please Visit Ann’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook. Memorial Contributions may be made to a charity of your choice.