Featured Letter: Remembering a lifelong friend

02/07/2013 6:00 AM |
John Michael Montgomery

John Michael Montgomery

To the editor:

While attending Barbara Thornhill Callahan’s annual Greenport High School reunion on Feb. 2, I learned that John Montgomery had recently passed away. No one had any details and when I returned home, I looked up his obituary in The Suffolk Times. I was shocked and deeply saddened by John’s sudden passing.

Of the many wonderful people with whom I grew up in Greenport, my memories of John are some of the best.

John was a lifelong friend, a very protective teammate on the Greenport football teams in 1953 and 1954, someone with whom I shared the veteran’s experience and a treasured correspondent who kept me in the loop on Greenport. I last heard from John in December. He sounded great and didn’t seem to have any health concerns.

One of my best memories of John is when he related what it was like accompanying his father when he delivered telegrams notifying families of the loss of a son during World War II. On one occasion, as they pulled up in front of a house, his father broke down and said, “John, I just can’t do this one. I know these people. Would you take the telegram in?”

John did. As he told me: “I knocked on the screen door and a young lady came out of a room, saw the telegram in my hand, turned back and returned with an older woman. The older woman took the telegram and they both began to weep quietly.”

John was emotional when he told me this story and I’m sure that particular experience helped make him the very kind and compassionate person I remember.

Greenport was certainly more because of John and I fear will be less without him. He was one of my role models and I don’t think I could have done better.

John Sullivan, Greenport High School, Class of 1957

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