Courtesy of Cindy (Montgomery) Renick

From Tri-State Tribune, 1994


For the first time in 70 years there is not a Montgomery living in Picher, Oklahoma.

It all began in 1917 when Dee and Lena Montgomery moved with their children Ethel, Georgia, Paul, Dennis, Lucinda. Bob and Bill from Welch, Okla. to a dwelling on North Main Street in Picher. The rich lead and zinc deposits had been discovered and she was- a “Boom" Town.” There was a job for every man that wanted one, even back then farming was a hit and miss proposition. The Eagle-Picher Mining Company paid every week and that was quite an inducement for Dee and Lena to move their family to Picher.
All of the children attended the Twins or Whitebird Elementary Schools and later the original Junior and Senior High School located on West "A" Street.

The Montgomery family has always been actively involved in the community affairs, supporters of the Picher-Cardin school system and their church. Dee and Lena Montgomery were two of the original founders of the Union Church, the largest attended church during the years that Wesley Post was the minister. His son Charles later married Ethel Montgomery.

Bill followed in the footsteps of his older brothers and was an all-around athlete at Picher  High School, playing football, basketball  and track. He also played trumpet in the band, and was a member of the Hi-Y Club, Glee-Club and Student Council.

He graduated from Picher High School in 1935 and went to work for the Eagle-Picher Mining Co. The following year his high school sweetheart, Rita Lightfoot, also graduated and they were married. He worked for the Eagle-Picher Mining Co. until 1954 when the mines closed and then commuted to Joplin, Mo., where he worked for the Vickers Co. as a machinist until he retired in 1979.

Dee Montgomery and his sons, Bob and Bill, have all been Worshipful Masters of Picher's Ottawa Masonic Lodge #478. Bill is also a 32nd Degree Mason being a member of the Scottish Rite of Tulsa. At the present Bill is Worthy Patron of Picher's Order of the Eastern Star and Rita has been secretary for the past 23 years.
They are also active members of the Cardin Christian Church where Bill serves as a deacon. With the church filled with friends, in 1986 Bill and Rita repeated their vows on the 50th anniversary of their wedding. Their best friends, Harold and Helen Sigle served as best man and matron of honor.
Bill and Rita have two children. Lucinda K. Renick of Baxter Springs, Kansas and William D. Montgomery of Roswell, New Mexico, six grandsons and four great-grandchildren.
Bill's parents, brothers and sisters are all deceased and are buried in the area.
A few years ago Bill and Rita began spending more time at their home on Grand Lake near Bernice, Oklahoma and live there full time. Their interests and activities are still in Picher and Cardin and they travel frequently "back home".

They are still active and serve on the organizational committee of the P.H.S. multi-class 1921-1941 reunions and thoroughly enjoy seeing their former classmates and friends who return for the events. A good friend recently revealed the "Real Bill Montgomery", that he was solid and dependable and that if you ever needed him, that he was always there."

If it is true that a family can be judged by the quality of their friends, the Montgomerys have always been at the top of the list.


Jim "Pinky" Jones, who graduated with the class of 1938,
 along with Andy Martin, Harold Sigle, and Bill Montgomery
started the multi-class (1921-1943) reunions with the help
of Rita Montgomery, Helen Sigle and Nola Wood