Charlie Johnson Montgomery, Jr.

Mr. Charlie Johnson Montgomery Jr., age 84, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of May 18, 2019 in his home with his family.

Visitation will be held, Wednesday, May 22nd at the Ott & Lee Funeral Home from 5:00pm-8:00pm in Forest, MS.  Brother Bobby McKay will officiate funeral services at the Harperville Baptist Church, in Harperville, Mississippi at 11:00 am, Thursday, May 23, 2019.  A graveside service to follow with full military honors.

Charlie was born to Elizabeth Ernestine Simpson McCay and Charlie Johnson Montgomery, Sr., on April 18, 1935 in Port Gibson, MS.  He enlisted in the Army after high school and later married Rose Mary King on December 10, 1955 in Port Gibson, MS.  Their life together was one of commitment, love, and devotion to one another for sixty-one years. Charlie’s care for his wife during her struggle with Alzheimer’s and death in 2017 was inspirational as his love and provision for her were made evident every day.

Charlie transferred to the Air Force after the birth of his first child and spent 20 years in the military receiving many commendations.  He traveled with his family living in the territory of Guam and seven states.  He served in Air Rescue as a helicopter mechanic, flight navigator, door gunner and hoist operator.  His conversations about his service were few and far between, and usually something humorous rather than serious.  For example, early in his military career he and his team disassembled two helicopters and reassembled them in Peru for a special operation.  When asked about that top-secret trip, the only thing he said was their electrical outlets were different and blew up “my brand-new electric razor!”

He rescued military personnel in enemy territory, Boy Scouts in the mountains of Utah, and stood by for the Apollo launches in Cape Canaveral. He trained for special operations in some of the most challenging courses the military offers.  During his POW training he only told the family about a few things.  One of these was that an officer in his group had sewed pockets and lined his jacket with candy bars for their survival.  In 1968, while serving in the Vietnam War, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in rescuing three American crew members from a downed American aircraft in North Vietnam.  His most noted mission was volunteering for the Son Tay Raid.  This was a special operation across military branches intended to rescue American prisoners of war in North Vietnam in 1970.  He was awarded the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action.

After retirement from the Air Force, Charlie enrolled in the welding program at Okaloosa Walton Junior College, in Niceville, FL and following that the family moved to Harperville, Mississippi.  Charlie worked at Flocon in Forest, MS and then as a welder in his own business.

Charlie was a devoted Christian, and the family always had a church home at every duty station he was assigned to in which he faithfully served.  During the time they were stationed in Hawaii, he and Rose Mary taught Sunday School to special needs children and led in the Children’s Church program.  He was a member of the Harperville Baptist Church for over forty years serving in several capacities and as a deacon.

Charlie was an accomplished mechanic and rarely paid for any car repair, home repair, or lawn repair.  He was frugal with his resources and loved getting the job done.  He enjoyed country music, driving fast, and playing the rebel.  He leveled the family lot in Florida wearing tie dye jeans in a convertible Volkswagen bug pulling a steel pipe behind it.  We saw a few donuts in that endeavor.  All the children knew the difference between a regular and Phillips screwdriver, wrench, and pliers at early ages as they handed him tools while he worked under a car being sure to hold the flashlight at just the right angle. 

Charlie is preceded in death by his mother, Elizabeth Simpson McCay, father, Charlie Johnson Montgomery, Sr., wife, Rose Mary Montgomery, and granddaughter Adelynn Nicole Reed.

Survivors include two daughters, Melyne Rose Luckett, husband Steve of Atlanta, GA, and Charlene Kinette Odom, of Forest, MS; two sons, John Charles Montgomery of Jackson, MS and Stephen Thomas Montgomery, wife, Felicia, of Collierville, TN.  He is also survived by his two brothers, Stephen Montgomery, of Los Angeles, CA, Robert McCay, wife, Joanne of Houston, TX, and his two sisters, Elizabeth Montgomery of Atlanta, GA, and Penny Savage, husband, Sam, of Dallas, TX, niece, Brittany Stansberry, nephews Clint McCay, Tommy McCay, wife, Jessica, and great nieces, Elizabeth, Clara, and great nephew, TA McCay.  Charlie is also survived by ten grandchildren living in MS, GA, TN, FL, KY, and CA; Andrea (Michael) Reed, Brant Odom, Ryan (Lindsay) Odom, Nicole (Evelyn) Odom, Daniel (Anna) Luckett, Stephanie Luckett Taylor, Matthew Luckett, Breanne Montgomery, Justin (Lauren) Montgomery, and Brandon (Alexandria) Montgomery.  Nine great grandchildren also survive him; Lila Reed, Vada Reed, Livia Reed, Vianna Reed, Ava Grace Montgomery, Tucker Luckett, Brant Odom, Gracie Montgomery, and Wade Montgomery. 

Serving as pallbearers are his grandsons, Brant and Ryan Odom, Daniel and Matthew Luckett, Justin and Brandon Montgomery.

A special thank you and appreciation to the hospice staff of Sta-Home as they lovingly cared for Charlie during the most difficult of times.