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Life Story / Obituary
In many ways, Patsy Montgomery defined the meaning of devoted wife, dedicated mother, doting grandmother, and loyal friend. Generous in all ways, her giving nature and loving, warmhearted spirit was exemplified through her actions. Patsy was truly a gift and inspiration to all who loved and cared for her.
Born in the southern Indiana community of Paris Crossing on March 5, 1948, Patsy was the daughter of Barnard and Mary (Jackson) Gudgel and grew up alongside her siblings, Nancy and Bobby. The end of World War II brought much prosperity to the U.S. as industry and manufacturing was at an all time high. With the onset of the “baby boom”, prefabricated, postwar housing was cheap to build and for people to buy, and it solved many of the housing shortages taking place during this time.
Patsy enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation. She shared the friendships of many, and attended the local schools. While working at a local diner while in high school, Patsy met the man who would come to hold her heart for the rest of her days. Willard Montgomery was a truck driver who, while passing by one day, saw Patsy running to school and whistled at her. Although they were 15 years apart in age, they found many things in common and a romance soon blossomed between them. Patsy especially loved Willard’s T-Bird and driving around to some of their favorite places together. While dating they often went to a special place called Gloriadale where they fed the ducks and could talk for hours.
On December 31, 1966, Patsy and Willard were united in marriage. Patsy took on Willard’s three children from his previous marriage, and loved them as her own. Sheryl, Kenny, and Kim became a large part of Patsy’s life as they spent many weekends and extended stays during the summers, even after she and Willard moved to the Paw Paw area of Michigan. However, Indiana always held a special place in Patsy’s heart. She was fond of visiting her hometown area throughout her life and she loved reminiscing with family about adventures shared from her childhood.
In time, Willard and Patsy came to welcome two children of their own. Jeff came along in 1967, and Missy followed in 1968. In the early 1970s their family moved to Lake Cora, just outside of Paw Paw. Patsy completely fell in love with the lake and the house. She loved everything about it from the picturesque setting to the beautiful Willow tree in their yard. Patsy loved raising her family there where great times were enjoyed. Even though she couldn’t swim, Patsy would water ski with the proper floatation device. Throughout the months of summer Patsy’s home was filled with extended family. She loved having everyone over to enjoy all the area had to offer.
Patsy made a wonderful, loving home for Willard and their children. She was very supportive of her children, and they clearly knew where they stood with her. They knew not to test her limits, and with Willard driving truck and away so often, Patsy had to be firm with the kids. Willard loved Patsy’s cooking. She was a good cook, and family favorites included her fried chicken, steak and potatoes. Her dinners were served promptly at 6:00 PM each day and included plenty of vegetables. Each morning she was sure to cook a big breakfast for the kids and she always made sure they had a nutritious lunch for school. For Patsy and her family, meals were more than simply eating; it was also a time for sharing and family time.
When her children were older and began having lives and families of their own, Patsy occasionally went on trips with Willard and so enjoyed taking in the beauty of the countryside. In the early 1980s, Patsy decided to pursue her desire to attend beauty school academy and became a beautician for a time. She later went to work for EPC, a plastics factory in Mattawan for 17 years where she made great friends. Everyone loved Patsy’s outgoing and fun-loving nature.
Family was everything to Patsy and she was the glue that held her family together. She loved get-togethers with those she held most dear and these cherished times were so important to her. She loved celebrating their birthdays, complete with cake and a special meal. Thanksgiving was always a feast with all of the settings at her table, and Christmas memories continue to be treasured. Patsy’s mothering instinct was unmatched. She lovingly took care of her children, grandchildren and later, great-grandchildren with the utmost devotion. She was there for the birth of her grandchildren, and when her great-grandchildren arrived, Patsy never hesitated in volunteering to watch them. She especially loved doting on them.
Patsy’s husband was a 17 year cancer survivor and when he became ill again, they sadly they had to leave their treasured home on Lake Cora. When Willard died in 2011, Patsy took his passing quite hard, and life for her simply wasn’t the same. It was in Patsy’s nature to care for and protect her family, but in time she realized she simply couldn’t do it all. The Serenity Prayer she had on her wall gave her strength even as she came to know she could no longer be everything to everyone. This was especially true when after Willard’s death, Patsy’s own health began to decline. She so longed to be with her beloved, Willard.
Family was a passion Patsy held close to her heart. She lovingly nurtured those in her care, and she had a way of making everyone she loved feel special. A sweet woman to know and love, Patsy’s concern for others had no boundaries. She counted being at the birth of her grandchildren as the greatest days of her life, and she truly enjoyed being with them and watching them grow. There was no greater love for Patsy than those entrusted to her care, and for those who knew her best, she will be deeply missed and fondly remembered.
Patsy Montgomery, age 67, of Schoolcraft died at her daughter’s home in Schoolcraft on Sunday, February 7, 2016. She is survived by her two children: Jeff and his wife, Sheila Montgomery and Missy and her husband, Ty Seaburg; her two stepchildren: Sheryl (LeRoy) Hartman and Kim (Larry) McElroy; two grandchildren: Kyle (Jessica) and Justin; seven great-grandchildren: Kaleb, Addison, Taylor, Amira, Gage, Kadence, and Connor; her sister, Nancy. She was preceded in death by her husband Willard in 2011; her stepson, Kenny; and by her brother, Bobby. Funeral services will be held at 1:00pm on Thursday at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Thompson, 60900 M-40 Paw Paw. (657-3870). Please visit Patsy’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo of Patsy and to sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to the West Michigan Cancer Center.