Thomas David “Tom” Montgomery, 87, passed away Tuesday, September 5, 2017 in Houston. Born November 23, 1929 in Smackover, Ark., Tom is preceded in death by his parents George and Lola Mae Montgomery, infant daughter Elizabeth, older sister Laverne, and other relatives.
A child of the Great Depression, Tom’s family moved to Kilgore where he spent his childhood. He attended Kilgore High School and Kilgore Junior College. Throughout his life, Tom would share with his children how his humble upbringing in a small town helped shape his values and sense of caring for others.
Tom enlisted in the US Air Force in 1951 and soon began pilot training. Tom often said his instructor told him “Tom, you would have been a hell of a pilot if you didn’t get air sick.”
Tom was later stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio working in air traffic control when he first met Stella Barrera at a USO social dance. They were married in December 1952 and moved to Austin in 1954 so Tom could attend the University of Texas Law School -- an accomplishment of which Tom’s parents were most proud. Tom was a member of Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society and had the second highest grade on the State of Texas Bar Exam.
Tom had many stories from his days at the UT Law School but one stood out -- his fondness for the Dean of the UT Law School W. Page Keeton who went out of his way to assist Tom when he was first enrolling as a military veteran and married student. Almost 50 years later in an historical twist of fate, the son and grandson of these two men worked together in the Executive Office of President George W Bush.
Soon Tom and Stella began a family starting with Leah Rae (born 1954) followed by Brian Darrell (born 1956). The Montgomery family moved to Houston in 1957 where Tom began a long legal career with Conoco (now ConocoPhillips). Three more daughters followed -- Elizabeth (born 1964-deceased), Erin Meredith (born 1966), and Lara Ysabel (born 1968).
After a relocating to Ft. Worth in 1963, the Montgomery family returned to Houston for good in 1967. Tom and Stella were also active members of Club Sembradores de Amistad. Following a legal career at Conoco spanning several decades, Tom began a second career as an ad litem attorney working in the Harris County Juvenile Justice system. His family believed he found his true passion representing young prison inmates in parental rights’ matters. Tom used to share some of the letters his clients sent him all with a common theme -- thanking him for helping turn their lives around.
At the Courthouse, Tom’s family would oftentimes marvel at the level of respect toward Tom shown by both judges and opposing attorneys who were quite mindful of his keen legal acumen befitting someone who began their legal career in the late 1950s. He continued his second legal career until 2015 when the long drives to and from the Harris County courthouse became too difficult.
His other passion was a multiyear project writing a book about the country he loved so much and what he believed needed to be done to get our nation on the right track again. With God’s help Tom’s family will complete his book. In his writings, Tom frequently cited portions of the United States Constitution to make his case and worried deeply our nation had strayed too far from the words: “We The People.”
Tom is survived by his younger brother, Toby Montgomery of Lake Charles, La.; former wife, Stella Montgomery; best friend of 80 years, David Ashcraft; children, Leah M. Borg, Brian (Katy) Montgomery, Erin M. Montgomery, and Lara (Jim) Klukas; grandchildren, Alyssa Borg Bow, Alex Christopher Patton, Alexis Murdock, Meredith Van Meter, Joshua Murdock, Lauren Klukas, Madeline Klukas, Emily Montgomery and Thomas Montgomery, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and a host of loving friends.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, at Schmidt Funeral Home Grand Parkway, where funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 10, with Rev. Ricardo Escobar officiating. A private interment will be held.
Those wishing to make memorial gifts may do so to Child Advocates Inc., 3701 Kirby Drive, Suite 400, Houston, Texas 77098.
Condolences may be expressed at www.SchmidtFuneralHome.net
Funeral services held under the direction of Schmidt Funeral Home, 1344 W. Grand Parkway South, Katy, Texas, 77494, (281) 391-2424.