Kay was born outside Meridian, Idaho March 21, 1924 at her grandmother’s house, and grew up on Castle Creek in Owyhee County with 5 brothers and sisters. She graduated from Grand View High School and attended Boise Junior College, before joining the WAVES in the Navy during WW II, where she met her future husband, Victor ‘Monty’ Montgomery. They married November 3, 1945 in Seattle, and she worked and attended Concord College, Duke University, Washington State, and Northwestern University while Monty earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and Doctorate degrees in psychology. Monty’s work led them to San Antonio, Albuquerque, Denver, Seattle, and Southern California before settling in 1963 in Moscow where Monty started teaching at the University of Idaho.
They built a home on 60 acres outside of Moscow and raised 4 daughters, while Kay earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree at the University of Idaho. Kay was one of the founding members of the Palouse Watercolor Socius, a member of the Idaho Watercolor Society, and the Northwest Watercolor Society, and spent her years practicing art in a variety of mediums, establishing herself as an award-winning and widely respected artist.
After Monty retired, they spent many years traveling, including the southwest United States, Oregon coast, Europe and many other road trips throughout the years.
Kay was a staunch supporter of the arts and the environment, and ultimately placed a portion of the farm in a conservation easement with the Palouse Land Trust, to protect in perpetuity a piece of the beautiful Palouse.
Kay is preceded in death by husband Monty, her parents Elmer Johnston and Margaret (Mae) Paulin Johnston, older brother David Johnston, younger brother Sheral Johnston, sister Betty Zrazik, and brother-in-law Merv Robinson. She is loved and missed by her remaining siblings, sister Peggy Robinson, brother and sister-in-law Vernie and Helen Johnston, and daughters Vicki Lynne, Kathy Vietmeier (Ron), Melissa Rasch (Gerry), Michelle Riddle(Ken), 6 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, and, Nika Zilliacus of Helsinki, Finland, a foreign exchange student who lived with the Montgomerys from 1973-1974 and is still a close member of the family.
In lieu of flowers, consider supporting the Idaho Conservation League, Palouse Land Trust, Gentiva Hospice, or Family Home Care, which provided professional and loving care prior to her death.
There will be a gathering for friends and family to celebrate Kay’s life on Saturday January 23, 2016, from 2-4 p.m. at the Best Western Plus University Inn in Moscow. Kay will be laid to rest in Owyhee County, where she grew up and developed an abiding love for the countryside.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.com.