Wade Montgomery

When I placed a rattlesnake rattle in the family fiddle my father Wade gave me, he warned me the dust could blind me, saying “the things we hold that are magic are also often tragic.” These few words sum much of his, and each human’s, life experience on this plain. In Wade Montgomery’s words, he was a modern day gypsy cowboy in this magic tragedy. Wade was a deeply spiritual man with a brilliant mind and unique way of interpreting the world, painting it as he wanted to see and polishing it in song and melody. 

His life began on Nov. 30, 1953 in Valentine, Nebraska, near where his parents were living on the Rosebud Reservation. Wade’s father held a dedicated career as a Bureau of Indian Affairs Agent. Because of that, Wade spent his formative years growing up on several reservations with our nation’s Native people, including the Brule Lakota, Mandan, Oglala, and Navajo. 

Wade graduated from Window Rock in 1971, holding a record for high jump at 6”6’. Following graduation, he attended Dallas Christian University on a full athletic scholarship. He left his schooling to marry and start a family with his true love Nora Lee, whom he met while working on a ranch in Central Montana in high school. 

Wade and Nora lived together in Flagstaff, Arizona, raising their children, Tucker, Krystal, and Melody. This time was filled with song, stories, nature walks, visits to the cinder lakes, camping, basketball and riding horses. Wade worked as a carpenter, while still writing songs and singing them to his wife and children. When drawing on Wade’s primary qualities, he is described as an amazing athlete and was treasured for his sense of humor, musical talent, loyalty, poeticism and way of seeing the world.

Wade joined his dearly departed wife and son on April 30, 2017. He left this world with his two daughters holding his hands, praying with him and playing his son’s music for him. Wade was an extremely strong man, standing 6’5” in his prime, but his body was unable to overcome a sudden and severe blood injury. Wade will be dearly missed by all who loved and met him, and the countless others who were touched by his original music that will continue to bring comfort in years to come. 

He is survived in death by his daughters Krystal Montgomery (Brian) and Melody Montgomery, newborn grandson Gram Montgomery, mother Betty, sister Wanda Jury (Carlos), brother Ryan Montgomery, and numerous nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and kindred spirits. 

A memorial service for Wade will be held in Three Forks, Montana, at the Rodeo Ground’s Pavilion at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 6. A subsequent music tribute will be held May 21 at the Kountry Korner Kafe in Four Corners, Montana. His family welcomes you to join them to celebrate his life and mourn his passing.

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