Featured Resident – Colleen Montgomery
Colleen Montgomery was born in Milan, MO, to Truman and Eunice Bunch. She had one brother six years younger than her. Her dad worked on several different farmers until he finally bought his own place in the late 40s. He worked at the feed store and Colleen farmed the land – planting with horses, cultivating the corn and harvesting by hand. This was her summer job and she made $.50 a week. She said if she needed school supplies, she couldn’t go to the movies on Saturday night. But most Saturday nights, she could be found at the movie theatre. She once won a Western Flyer bicycle which she traded for a pony that her and her brother rode to and from school.
Colleen attended school in Milan. She enjoyed school, especially math but not history. During her freshman year, she met Glenn Montgomery at the gas station her family frequented. He was four years older than her. They dated throughout her high school days. During her junior year, he joined the Air Force. Colleen graduated on May 17, 1952 and got married on May 18, 1952. Glenn shipped out overseas. Colleen stayed in Milan and took care of Glenn’s parents and their farm.
When Glenn was discharged from the Air Force, he went to Glendale, CA. Colleen took the train from Trenton, MO, all the way to California. It took a little over a week. The couple spent a month sightseeing before taking the train back to Missouri.
The couple relocated to Independence when Glenn got a job Hudson Oil. They moved to North Kansas City and Colleen went to work for Belles Hess, a mail order company, for $.50 an hour. She then went to work for Fleming Wholesale Grocers for $1.25 an hour. During this same time, Glenn went to work for Greyhound Bus Lines before getting hired on at Wabash Railraod.
The couple had a house built and moved to Gladstone in 1961. Colleen went to work at Western Electric for a few years. In 1965, they adopted their first son, Greg, and then Jared in 1967. They worked with an attorney and only had to pay for the hospital bill and attorney fees. All total, it was under $200 for each adoption.
In 1968, Colleen went to work for the North Kansas City school district. Her next-door neighbor watched the boys for her. She started out as a bus driver and then took the job of custodian.
The family went to Pomme De Terre lake every weekend. They had a piece of land with a trailer on it. However, they bought three acres north of Kearney in 1979. Keeping up with both properties was too much and so they sold the lake property.
Glenn and Colleen had a group of couples that they got together with. They would gather at a different house each time and had a live band that they could dance to. As the boys grew older, they were involved in karate and soccer. The boys also attended Northern Hills Baptist Church.
Glenn and Colleen once drove to the east coast. Glenn was ready to go home before they even got there. Travel was not a thing that the family did after that.
Colleen retired from the school district in 1996. She turned around and took a job in housekeeping at Westbrook Care Center. She worked here until 2003.
Life wasn’t always easy. Greg’s ex-wife was killed in a car accident, leaving him to raise two young boys. Greg really struggled with her death. Colleen and Glenn helped out by taking the two boys into their home. Tyler was four and Cody was two. They lived with them until they were eleven and nine. Glenn decided it was time for the boys to go back to their dad. Colleen didn’t agree and this caused a major rift between the couple. In 2001, they divorced.
She moved to Excelsior Springs after the divorce. She was very involved in the country music show in Holt, MO. She stayed involved for many years.
Colleen moved to a rental house in Kearney in 2010. She was actively involved with the senior dances, even helping start and running the one at the Annunciation Center.
In 2022, the house she was renting went up for sale and she had to move. One day in December she visited Westbrook, talked to Steve and April and a few weeks later, moved into her apartment. She likes being around the other residents, enjoys the activities (especially the music and Wii Bowling), and the food is good. All in all, she says it’s a nice place to live.
Colleen’s family includes Greg (Laura), their kids, Tyler, Cody, Genesis, Zeke and Wade, Jared (Lisa) and their kids Jake (Alex), Dylan (Ashton) and Olivia (Seth). She also has seven great grandkids: Noah, Domonic, Reed, Carter Jean. Adeline, Marley Jo and Harrison James. She encourages them and others to Do well, Stay well, and Be happy.